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MediCapt

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MediCapt is a mobile application, developed by the Program on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), to help clinicians more effectively collect, document, and preserve forensic medical evidence of sexual violence to support the prosecution of these crimes.

This critical tool converts a standardized medical intake form for forensic documentation to a digital platform and combines it with a secure mobile camera to facilitate forensic photography. By combining these components, MediCapt will help preserve critical forensic medical evidence of mass atrocities, including sexual violence and torture, for use in courts. Health care providers will use the app to compile medical evidence, photograph survivors’ injuries, and securely transmit the data to authorities engaged in prosecuting and seeking accountability for these crimes.

Systematic Documentation

PHR developed MediCapt to support clinicians in the provision of medical care to survivors and the documentation of injuries. This new tool enables health professionals to gather the required medical data – in a standardized way – so that their legal counterparts can manage the entire evidentiary chain more effectively.

Among its many essential features, MediCapt includes sophisticated encryption, cloud data storage, high fidelity to chain of custody standards, and tamper-proof metadata. The app’s data mapping feature will help to reveal patterns or prevalence of violence, including the widespread or systematic nature of offences critical to demonstrating crimes against humanity. MediCapt also facilitates early warning of and rapid response to mass crimes. Significantly, the app is designed to securely collect data in conflict zones, as well as remote locations where wireless data transmission is limited. The tool can also accommodate the various languages and literacy levels of its users.

Forensic Photography

MediCapt's secure capture features facilitates the collection of forensic photography, which plays a critical role in documenting the physical injuries associated with sexual violence cases. As such, it is important for medical professionals, law enforcement officials, and members of the judiciary to understand how to analyze and safely store the images collected.

Collaborative Design and Pilot Testing

PHR is committed to employing a process called collaborative design or “co-design” whereby end-user feedback is sought early in the development process so that MediCapt truly responds to their needs. As part of this iterative development process, PHR continues to field test the app in both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. Wide adoption of this new technology will be a crucial contribution to ending impunity for these crimes.

Publications

“mJustice: Preliminary Development of a Mobile App for Medical-Forensic Documentation of Sexual Violence in Low-Resource Environments and Conflict Zones,” in Global Health: Science and Practice (March 2017). 

“MediCapt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: The Design, Development, and Deployment of Mobile Technology to Document Forensic Evidence of Sexual Violence,” in the journal Genocide Studies and Prevention (May 2017). The article was part of symposium devoted to Information and Communications Technologies in Mass Atrocities Research and Response.  

Awards

In 2013, MediCapt won first prize in the USAID-Humanity United Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention competition in the Safe Documentation category. The Tech Challenge emerged from President Barack Obama’s Genocide Prevention Initiative, launched in April 2012, under which he pledged to support creative 21st-century solutions to prevent mass atrocities.