South Africa is a developing country with great potential to be leaders in technology and research, especially in the medical field. Rural areas in many countries do not have access to basic healthcare services due to the distance and inaccessibility of these services. Currently people living in the rural areas in South Africa are required to rely on the people within the area, who may not be trained; on doctors who make house calls, who may not be able to access the patient in time or on finding transport to the nearest hospital, which may be hundreds of kilometres away. This leads to many rural residents not seeking aid for aliments thereby often lowering life expectancy. South Africa has many world-renowned medical practitioners who would be able to assist the residents in these areas if there were methods for observation and recording of health statuses without the need for either party to travel. This dissertation studied and developed a method to assist not only the residents in rural areas, but also urban residents to record their vital signs without the assistance of a licenced medical practitioner, to upload the data to a database and to then allow the data to be viewable by the medical practitioner who may be situated elsewhere in South Africa or the world. This system allows for the elimination of human error when recording vital sign data as recording is not done through human intervention. Through the use of communications technologies such as Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi a system was designed which ensures that a patient can record medical data without the presence of a medical practitioner, the patient can access previous health records and readings and the patient can give a new medical practitioner a full medical history. The patient�s data has been secured using AES and RSA encryption as well as verification through hash values at all points of transfer and access is granted to the patients� medical data only through the patient or a licenced medical practitioner. The data recording and transfer has been completed taking into consideration all the medical legislation and laws in South Africa. This system allows the South African medical health sector to service all South Africa residents, including the residents in rural areas.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2018.