How Does Technology Heal Smiles?

Technology has grown by leaps and bounds, which has made our lives more convenient, while enabling efficiencies in businesses like never before.


But do you know that technology also has the ability to heal smiles?


Since 1982, Operation Smile has been providing more than 220,000 free surgical procedures in over 60 countries for children and young adults born with cleft lip and palate, as well as other facial deformities. Despite collecting a wealth of data on the children they treat and the environments they live in, the international nonprofit has yet to pinpoint what causes these birth defects, which affect one in every 700 infants born. And in recent years, they have teamed up with Microsoft to uncover the root of this facial deformity, while scaling its operations efficiently to help more children in need.

Mothers waiting in line to get treatment for their children.

Mothers waiting in line to get treatment for their children.


“We tried to connect the dots before but it was too difficult,” explained Dr. Ruben Ayala, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Operation Smile. “We couldn’t get to where we wanted to be until Microsoft came into the picture.”


It was in Hanoi that the nonprofit administered the digital assessment process to automate and digitise medical records. For the first time in its 32 years of operations, Operation Smile volunteers were screening Vietnamese patients and collecting information—from images of cleft lips and palates to haemoglobin levels—with an electronic medical records system fitted with Office 365. These are uploaded to OneDrive for Business for archival and future data analysis, the most critical component of the rollout. Through the data analysis, Operation Smile can potentially identify genetic and environmental correlations with incidents of cleft, recognise which patient is more likely to experience complications during surgery, and monitor those who are unable to receive treatment so they can be contacted for future missions.

Volunteers keying in the patient’s records with via laptops.

Volunteers keying in the patient’s records with via laptops.


In addition, digitising its operations will not only enable the nonprofit to take a step closer towards finding the root cause of cleft, it can also help them better manage its growing network of medical volunteers. According to Chris Bryant, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Applications and Technology at Operation Smile, having an efficient system in place allows them to provide enough notification, so volunteers can schedule time away from their job to give them more opportunity to participate.


With these intensive sessions of data-gathering and analysis, Operation Smile hopes that it can treat more patients as early as possible, so that those afflicted with cleft lip and palate can eat, talk, and smile just like any other children.


Learn more about how Microsoft enabled Operation Smile here.



Comments (0)

Skip to main content