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World Innovation Summit for Health

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Catalogue Item

Health worker data recording

Organization: Dimagi

Country: Tanzania; Uganda

Forum: Big data & healthcare

Since 2002, Dimagi has been delivering open and innovative technologies to improve health and education in underserved rural communities. One of three key products, CommCare allows complex data to be inputted into forms on mobile devices and then viewed in real-time on the web. This is particularly useful in supporting frontline health workers when visiting patients and allows effective management of patients, the workforce and the data that they collect. More than 2.5 million patient forms have been submitted through this system by over 50 organizations across over 30 countries. The depth and detail of this data can be used to provide important new insights.

In one project, Dimagi and the University of Washington collaborated to investigate how to use CommCare to ascertain whether frontline health workers were submitting fake or real data. Frontline workers in Tanzania and Uganda were supervised whilst collecting real data and then asked to enter data on fake patients at a ‘fake data party’. Analysis of this data revealed that in fake submissions, the form took only 148 seconds to complete (100 seconds less than the average time taken to enter real data) and that instances of diarrhea were significantly exaggerated. These patterns were then used to create classifiers which automatically assess data quality and detect fake entries.

It is hoped that this study will be a preliminary step in the design of tools for automated data quality control for mobile data collection. This will be incredibly important in supporting the development and assessment of future technological interventions.

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