Sometimes a simple application can make our lives much easier and help many people. Because it is not always about the scale. Sometimes what matters more is taking time to listen and learn the specific needs of local communities. Only that way can we create products that will serve their true purpose.
In this article we will introduce you to a reporting app created by SolDevelo to help patients with tuberculosis.
VillageReach is a non-profit organization working in the area of medical logistics, especially the last mile delivery of medicines to remote rural areas in Africa. It was established in 2001 and is based in Seattle, U.S. VillageReach develops tests, implements, and scales new solutions to critical health system challenges in low-resource environments. Its mission is to save lives and improve health by increasing access to quality healthcare for the most underserved communities.
Open Data Kit (ODK)
Open Data Kit (ODK) was developed in partnership with the University of Washington’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. It is an open-source suite of tools that allows one to create, file, and manage mobile data. ODK tools can scan and recognize handwriting. It enables one to digitalize paper forms (ODK Scan), manage and edit mobile data on the phone (ODK Survey), as well as view them (ODK Tables).
In the Pakistan field trial, ODK Scan was used to automatically digitalize check-box and numerical data from the facility tuberculosis register. District Field Supervisors fill out paper forms and then scan them with the use of the ODK Scan app. The scanned data is then available on the Android device in the ODK Tables app.
It was SolDevelo’s task to prepare a customized report that would make use of the data stored in the ODK Tables, do necessary calculations and display the correct data to the user in the form of a HTML report.
SolDevelo was previously hired to perform work on the ODK for VillageReach, as well as other business entities, therefore we were a perfect candidate for this work.
SolDevelo put together a team consisting of three developers and one tester to tackle this challenge. We worked closely with a VillageReach representative in order to understand the work of District Field Supervisors and their needs. We were also in contact with core ODK developers to get a better understanding of how we can incorporate our own reporting app into the existing ODK Tables app.
The implementation had to take into consideration very specific client requirements. The reporting app we created was meant to be used on 5-inch Android devices. It also had to handle possible duplicate patient records in the paper registers and consecutively, on the phone. Finally, an algorithm that calculates the days left until the next check-in for each patient had to be implemented.
The created reporting app consists of three screens. When opening the app, it first asks which one of the two districts we are interested in. When one or both of them are selected, the app will use its calculation algorithm to determine days left until the check-in and display the list of patients sorted by calculation result – meaning the patients that need attention sooner are displayed higher. Each patient record also displays a type of treatment, personal identification number, and an image snippet containing the patient’s name taken from the paper record. Tapping the patient records brings the user to the patient details screen containing information about treatment type and previous check-ins and their results.
Thanks to the reporting app that we have put together, District Field Supervisors can easily find patients who need to attend the clinic or who require follow-up support, and contact them. If a patient does not adhere to the prescribed treatment regimen, they are at a high risk of worsening their condition. A quick and streamlined way to check in on patients with tuberculosis helps to prevent complications resulting from skipped treatments.
If you are curious about our other collaboration with VillageReach, read this article: OpenLMIS 3.0: Providing Health Supplies For Those In Need.