Dumbphones, what are they good for?

John Moe Oct 26, 2011

For one thing, text messaging. Just because your old RAZR doesn’t have a fancy touchscreen like your new RAZR doesn’t mean it needs to be tossed into a recycling bin. Josh Nesbit, CEO of Medic Mobile, wants to put the phones back into circulation to help patients and doctors connect, especially developing countries, where a trip to see a doctor about a stomach ache could take hours.

By communicating via text, doctors can learn symptoms and diagnose from a distance. As reported in Popular Mechanics, Nesbit believes that “a simple technology like text messaging is a tool that can be used to track disease outbreaks, help first responders quickly locate victims after disasters.” With a small grant, he tried out the system in Malawi, Africa, and “within six months of the system going live, the number of patients being treated for tuberculosis doubled, more than 1200 hours in travel time were eliminated, and emergency services became available in the area for the first time. The operating costs in those six months: $500 ” Nesbit recently presented his idea to the United Nations.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.