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Intervention Spotlight: Creating a Data-Use Culture

By Tara Newton, Communications Associate, BID Initiative

Jul 29, 2015

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Photo: PATH/Mwanaidi Msangi. Data use campaign posters will be placed in facilities to encourage health workers to use data in a meaningful way.

Photo: PATH/Mwanaidi Msangi. Data use campaign posters will be placed in facilities to encourage health workers to use data in a meaningful way.

The BID Initiative is not a technology or IT project. It’s based on the premise that we must take a holistic approach to the immunization data quality and use challenges countries face through a collection of multiple interventions. The products we are implementing, such as the national electronic immunization registry, will not be successful without additional activities that simplify data flows and reporting, make data accessible across multiple levels of the health system, and cultivate a culture of data-use.

Inaccurate reporting from the sub-national to the national level is one of many barriers to improving data quality and use. Feedback mechanisms are rarely built into existing systems, therefore, health workers don’t often realize the benefits of timely, accurate data or receive practical guidance that could help improve daily tasks such as resource planning. In addition, local data is often difficult to properly interpret as it is housed in large paper registers making the data difficult to analyze. It is almost impossible to see patterns or trends such as geographical differences, missed vaccines, and things such as session size and outreach activities, which could help to make better service delivery decisions.

What does creating a data-use culture look like on the ground? Lucy, a health worker from a busy urban facility in Arusha region, will be trained how to use the data in a meaningful way to better plan how to best use her team and resources to serve patients. For example, simplified, auto-generated reports will reduce the chance of error and require less time from Lucy and her team. She will receive a monthly dashboard from the district telling her how her facility is performing as well as how it compares to neighboring facilities. If she has questions, she can reach out to the WhatsApp group, a communication forum where health workers support one another and provide encouragement as they adopt new tools and practices.

The full suite of interventions under development and rolling out in the Arusha region of Tanzania to create a data-use culture include:

  • Micro-training videos: Short training videos facilitated by health workers, for health workers, capturing successful best practices and innovations to improve data use at facilities.
  • Data visualization/dashboards: Customized web-based dashboards including the most functional and relevant information at each level of the health system (facility to national) on a monthly basis.
  • Peer networking: Communication forums established between facilities, such as a WhatsApp group, to increase informal interaction between health workers, encourage peer-supported problem solving, and provide access to data champions.
  • Data use campaign: Educational communication materials such as posters and brochures that encourage behavior change to create a local data-use culture and demonstrate the value of data use in support of other interventions.
  • Targeted supervision: District Immunization Officers (DIVO) will use improved data and monthly reports from facilities to target monthly, onsite one-on-one capacity building with under-performing facilities.
  • Workflow redesign: Adjustments required to accommodate innovations and solutions, general process flow improvements, and job aids to provide best practices and streamline immunization service provision.
  • District data use guide: Electronic-based guide to support new technologies and paper-based forms on how to use data (targeted at both data producers and users), establishing a baseline understanding across each level of the health system.
  • Data use video games: Analytical tools in the form of video games to improve staff decision making capacity. Pre-existing video games can be readily accessed through cell phones or computers.

Stay tuned as we dive further into these interventions in the coming months with examples from our work across the Arusha region.

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