From Atlanta to Nairobi: A new collaboration with Merck

Over the past four years, Standard Code has made a name for itself as a healthcare technology partner to some of the most influential public health organizations in the world. We've built cutting edge data collection and analysis tools from the comfort of our Atlanta, GA office, just a few miles from the Centers for Disease Control, The Carter Center, and The Task Force for Global Health. While it is great being so close to one of the centers of gravity in global health, it's still a world away from where​ the technology we developed is being put to use.

This past week we signed an agreement to work with ​Merck (Germany)​ in their public health group​. Our goal is​ to deploy our data product, Secure Data Kit​ (SDK)​, throughout Africa. For those unfamiliar, SDK is a cloud based data ​platform that helps healthcare organizations ​collect data from a variety of sources (iPhone, Android, ​API, ​SMS, ​email, excel, etc)​,​ standardizes and secures the data, and makes it actionable -- think business intelligence reports, maps, ​and ​workflow. In short, we take disorganized unstructured data and help organizations make sense of it. ​With Merck, we're helping ​them track donated drugs from the moment they're manufactured to the moment they are given to a child in Kenya. This collaboration with Merck gives us the opportunity to get closer to where our software is needed most.

​This collaboration provides us with two other amazing opportunities:

We're establishing a more permanent presence in Africa


Over the past two years we've been shuttling back and forth to Africa as most of our projects are based in one of the WHO African region countries​.​ Our software is​ now​ used in nearly every single country in Africa (that sounds kinda cool, doesn't it?). We love racking up the SkyMiles, ​but ​the 20 hour flights back and forth mean​s​ we can't be on the ground as often as we'd like. ​With the help of Merck, we will be open​ing​ an office in Nairobi, Kenya​. The new office will give us access to ​many new opportunities and most importantly, insights into how to make the product better. One of our founding partners, Jared Malan is moving there (with a wife and 3 children under 7 years old in tow) for the first 3-4 months to ​build the team.




The view from our Nairobi office is way better than the view from our ATL office


Our new office exposes our team to where our software is being used


We build software for two main constituencies: ​1) t​he people on the ground all around the world (but mostly in Africa) who are collecting data about disease and 2) the people back in the office who analyze​ that data. We get to spend a lot of time with the office folk because many of them are here​ in Atlanta​. We can drive down the road and park ourselves in their offices and watch them use our software. Easy. But what about the people in the field? Most of our team has never had an opportunity to observe how our software allows people to collect data about disease in ​a village in Africa. With this residency, we're planning to rotate every full​ ​time member of Secure Data Kit / Standard Code through our office in Nairobi. While there​,​ they'll get to see firsthand how things work, how we meet (or don't meet) our users' needs, and how we can improve what we're doing.

It goes without saying that this opportunity to work with one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies is ​special​.​ We plan to capitalize on it as we get involved with as many of the positive ​efforts happening in Africa ​as possible. We're excited about the impact our small software company can ​have. We ​are at the forefront of a technology revolution ​in Africa and that is super exciting!

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Picked by TJ
Mar. 14 2017
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