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A hotline for health workers using digital tools

By Nana Tembo, HelpDesk Coordinator, BlueCode Systems

Dec 14, 2017

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Photo: PATH/Chimwasu Njapawu. A Help Desk hotline managed by BlueCode is helping health workers like Susan Siatwiko to troubleshoot new data quality and data use interventions.

In Southern Province, a nurse was recently trained on the Zambia Electronic Immunisation Registry (ZEIR). She registered a baby who came to the clinic for the first time today. But the nurse can’t enter all the baby’s key information. She is stuck and can’t continue with this child. The nurse is faced with two options: to wait until a district health officer is available to help her troubleshoot, or to call the ZEIR hotline.

The purpose of the Help Desk is twofold – to troubleshoot issues with health workers encouraging them to continue to use and adopt the new system, but also to provide feedback to the developers to make improvements.

BlueCode Systems, the Zambian software development company working with Ona to support the rollout of ZEIR in Southern Province, set up the Help Desk over two months ago to improve health workers’ user experience. An improved user experience with the digital device will enable health workers to better serve children in the health facilities.

BlueCode initiated the Help Desk with a goal to serve as a point of contact for users to send their queries, relay problems encountered while interacting with the system, organize issues for faster resolution, and organize answers to queries into a knowledge base. BlueCode and Ona then take this collection of issues and use them to refine the software, improve the process of using the system for users who receive updates on their devices.

Photo: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/John Healey. Reuben Mwanza of the BID Initiaitive, enters vaccination data into a tablet as Regina Atilelma prepares a vaccination at the Mahatma Gandhi Clinic in Livingstone, Zambia. A hotline is helping health workers master the new technology.

“When we got the ZEIR, we had no trouble getting used to the system because of the hotline. We call the number and they attend to us,” says Sitali Mubika, Clinical Officer at Kascol Clinic in Mazabuka.

BlueCode are very responsive when calls come through – user-level issues are resolved in real time by guiding the user through the necessary steps to effectively use the system. Technical issues depend on the magnitude of what is reported which sometimes means that the solution will be loaded in a subsequent release.

Another great aspect of BlueCode’s work through the Help Desk is to encourage use of the ZEIR app to help the facilities reach their targets, such as number of children registered. The Help Desk provides the facilities with real-time data on their progress to meeting their given targets, which helps the users know how much further they have to go.

“The feedback loop is fundamental for us to deliver a solution that works well for users, and achieves technical goals,” says Andre Lesa, of BlueCode. Collectively, user feedback has proved to be crucial in understanding how to add more value to the ZEIR app and improve user satisfaction.

The feedback via the Help Desk hotline will be critical to our plans to rollout ZEIR in 267 facilities by February 2018.

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