Project description. This project has two parts: (a) In many foreign countries, internet and email access can be slow, expensive, unreliable, or unavailable but can be critical to project success or traveler safety. However, GSM cellular telephone networks are ubiquitous, and the installation of an inexpensive microSIM (µSIM ) for a local network in a GSM iPad or other tablet provides the user with contract-free mobile internet and email, enabling ready access to web-based resources, expert advice, and emergency communications (e.g., iJet notfications). No special tools are needed to install a µSIM – the tray holding it can be opened using a paperclip. A 1 GB µSIM costs about as much as one day of hotel internet access, but can provide email access (depending on usage) for up to a month. All iPads with wireless connectivity sold by Apple in the US are not locked or tied to a particular carrier (µSIM access in GSM Android tablets is certainly possible, but will not be addressed in detail to keep the scope of this short project manageable). The primary barriers to wider adoption of µSIM tablet internet & email appear to be lack of awareness that this can be done and how to do it, and one goal of this project is to make a non-technical audience aware of the availability of this technology and how easily it can be implemented. (b) The tablet can also be used to store or access key travel, safety and academic documents, such as scanned passport pages (critical for rapid replacement of a lost passport), travel insurance documentation, emergency contact and credit card numbers, scanned drug & vision prescriptions, immunization records, student goal sheets/work logs, and so on, creating an invaluable travel resource in a small highly portable package that has a long battery life. This enables the traveler to avoid having to carry a laptop computer and its associated gear, and/or to avoid having to use a phone interface for long or complex messages.
Deliverables. (a) A non-technical explanation of how and why this works, a short glossary of technical terms, a comparison showing the costs and limitations of other ways to obtain internet and email access abroad (e.g., international 3G plans), assurance that installing a new µSIM does not void the tablet warranty, basic troubleshooting instructions, and similar documents addressing other user concerns. (b) A how-to manual (both online and digital versions) consisting of contact information for network providers that offer µSIMs provisioned for iPads in various countries, instructions (how to identify a GSM iPad, check network coverage, install and test a µSIM in an iPad, estimate usage over time, turn connectivity off & on, reset the iPad, and so on). (c) A package of digital travel links, including those on the Risk Management (RM) website http://www.rmis.ucsf.edu/RMISDetails.aspx?Panel=9 and the SOM Study Abroad (SA) website http://medschool.ucsf.edu/intlprograms/Programs/Study_Abroad.aspx as well as instructions on creating personalized resources, e.g., a scanned version of essential passport pages. A sample (redacted) set of such resources will be developed. (d) A list of useful free & low-cost tablet travel resources, such as Google Maps/Earth/Translate, SmugMug (offline picture storage app), and OffMaps2 (offline city maps). All deliverables will be linked or housed on GHS, SA & RM webpages. Proof of concept has been independently demonstrated by two project team members, and we hope to be able to test and evaluate µSIM iPad access in Mexico, Central America, and Kenya this coming September (and if so, the travelers involved will provide structured evaluation and feedback on the deliverables – we’d also like to try out sending iPad photos for medical consultation as well as VoIP connections with the iPad).
Impact on UCSF’s mission and community. This project would directly support UCSF’s vision of Advancing Health Worldwide, and could facilitate inter-professional provision of health care. Any member of the UCSF community who is travelling outside the US for rotations, research, and/or academic business – particularly, but not limited to, students, faculty and staff in Global Health Sciences (GHS) - in an area with GSM mobile phone service would potentially benefit from this project. By providing electronic communication 24/7, it would contribute to their safety, security, and mentorship, could enable distance consultation, and might also result in significant cost savings for internet access.
Team members (all will be users/project evaluators): Chris Cullander, Institutional Research, SAA – visionary, subject matter expert/content provision, utilization evaluation; Andrew Sinclair, Risk Management & Insurance Services –subject matter expert/content provision; Scott Barter, ITS- network and phone technologist; Teresa Moeller, CTSI & GHS – subject matter expert/content provision, dissemination; Mylo Schaaf, Pathways Explore Global Health Advisor - subject matter expert/content provision, supervision of students abroad, utilization evaluation.
Estimated time devoted by each team member CC – project lead, ~50% time on evenings and weekends (non-worktime), all deliverables. AS – travel safety management resources, ~10% time, primarily deliverable c. SB – technical advice & explanations,~10% time, evenings, primarily deliverable a. TM - GHS & CTSI web resources, ~15% time, primarily deliverable c and review of a & b. MS - supervision of students abroad, ~15% time, primarily deliverable c & traveler evaluations, if accomplished.
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