Medic Mobile, formerly FrontlineSMS and a proven innovator in mobile health technology, has announced the development of the first SIM Application for healthcare. SIM apps can generally operate on 80% of the world’s phones from $15 handsets to Android smartphones. The announcement was made by Medic’s Chief Strategist Isaac Holeman at the Mobile Health Summit in Cape Town, South Africa on Monday. The GSMA-mHA Mobile Health Summit runs from 6th to 9th June and has a great lineup of speakers.

Medic Mobile is known best for deploying SMS-based healthcare communication solutions on $60 Java enabled phones. Now with SIM apps, Medic is creating simple menu-based applications that function on handsets four times less expensive and operable in the hardest to reach areas. “In healthcare, it’s necessary to exchange structured information. SIM apps provide a new method with great potential that can be installed and updated remotely over the air,” says CTO and Lead Developer Dieterich Lawson.

CEO Josh Nesbit sees a bright future for SIM mhealth apps, “They’re easy for users, they’ve been proven to scale in mobile banking, and mobile phone penetration is skyrocketing. We want to meet health workers and patients where they are, designing applications for technology they’re using.” Fifty percent of people on the African continent own a mobile phone, projected to reach 100% in the next few years.

Medic’s first official SIM app is Kuvela, developed for PSI with support from the Maternal Health Task Force, and the company plans to develop many more. “We required reporting tools that can be rolled out at large scale for low cost. The combination of a SIM application and a reporting dashboard will allow us to closely monitor the quality of our program across multiple districts. This would’ve been otherwise impossible without Medic Mobile’s work,” said Gunther Baugh, Project Coordinator for PSI.

“People get excited about the iPhone apps because of profit potential. We’re excited about designing SIM applications because of the impact potential,” says Nesbit. “I can imagine all eight million global community health workers utilizing SIM applications to support their work and improve the lives of their patients.” In the future, Medic hopes to build applications for patients to help them manage their own health by scheduling appointments, accessing remote consultations, alerting the nearest clinic in medical emergencies, and more.

Medic Mobile is a non-profit organization seeking to advance rural healthcare networks in the developing world through the implementation of sustainable, appropriate technologies delivered through mobile phones. By developing new software and building upon open source software including: FrontlineSMS, OpenMRS, Ushahidi, Google Apps, and HealthMap, Medic Mobile seeks to help medical workers gather health data efficiently and assist in patient follow-up. The Medic Mobile tools are currently used in eleven countries covering more than 4.5 million people.