Medical pupils' vision blooms with eye app

TWO Monash University medical students will meet with Microsoft founder Bill Gates next month. 

Fifth year students Jennifer Tang and Jarrel Seah have won Microsoft's Imagine Cup with their idea to create a selfie app to detect anaemia. 

The students were doing rotations in Mildura, Swan Hill and Bendigo when they came up with the idea. 

Anaemia is caused by a deficiency in red blood cells, which can be the result of a poor diet or other disease and disorders. 

Eyenaemia works by having users snap a photograph of their lower eyelid alongside a thumb-size chart that allows a computer to screen for anaemia based on the colour of the eyelid. 

The photographs can also be entered into a website or sent via email. 

Ms Tang and Mr Seah met during their first year of medicine at Monash University in Clayton and kept in contact.

They met up again while on placement. 

"We both have an interest in medical technology," Ms Tang said. 

"Jarrel is interested in software and has a background in technology while I'm interested in design, especially app design, and website development." 

"We recognised a need to find some way of detecting anaemia early and treating it.

"And no objective screening method for anaemia existed."

Mr Seah said while working in the north-west region the pair saw how far people had to travel for medical appointments. 

"We thought it (the app) might be a good way for people to screen themselves at home or to have outreach workers screen them on the spot when they visited outlying areas," he said. 

Rural Health Mildura director Fiona Wright said the win was a testament to not only the students' capability and communication skills but their vision for the role of technology in the delivery of health care.

The students have set up their own company but will continue to practise medicine. 

"Practising medicine in the field will help us to identify problems. Our desire is to improve health care through technical solutions," Ms Tang said. 

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