Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Why FrontlineSMS Fits

Why was FrontlineSMS the right tool for St. Gabriel’s Hospital?

I wrote a bit about the virtues of the software in July, amidst the implementation period. The program has been running for six months, and my latest trip allowed me to document the project’s impact on primary care, treatment coordination, and hospital efficiency. Further, the SMS program has saved thousands of hours of travel time for CHWs and hospital staff, and bolstered the CHWs’ status within their respective communities – which are now connected to the hospital’s resources.

As Ken Banks recently stated, whether or not a mobile tool is suitable is “all about the context of the user.” In succinct terms, here are a few reasons that Ken’s tool was a the right fit for St. Gabriel’s:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It works with simple, readily-available hardware. I used recycled phones and didn’t need to worry about the donated laptop’s specifications.
  3. It doesn’t require an internet connection. The hospital’s web access is shaky, at best.
  4. It is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. The nurse running the program had never used a computer in his life. After one hour of training, he was off and FrontlineSMS-ing.
  5. The hospital found the tool – not the other way around. After I spent time at the hospital two summers ago, the need for connectivity was clear. To meet that need, a tool was employed. It wasn’t forced on me or the hospital.
  6. Straightforward features allowed the hospital to take ownership and get creative, which encouraged user-driven functionality. One example: Auto-replies set to provide CHWs with immediate drug dosage and usage information.
  7. A ten-second demonstration can illustrate the program’s purpose. This hooked clinical staff working within various hospital programs (e.g. HIV treatment coordinator, TB officer, PMTCT director).
  8. Past text messages, and vital patient informaiton, are just two clicks away.

In examining the success of the SMS initiative over the last half-year, the appropriateness of the technology cannot be ignored.

Posted: January 15th, 2009
Categories: Technology
Tags: , , , ,
Comments: 2 Comments.

CNN – “Texting to save lives”

That’s the headline the CNN Technology site is using to pull visitors to a story covering the project. Here’s the link:

Text service provides more than a Band-Aid for rural health service by Steve Mollman

It’s amazing to see Alex and Grace on the site, and I think Steve wrote a wonderful article. I’m headed back to the hospital for Christmas break, and I’ll be updating the blog regularly – starting now. Here’s a (very) quick 30-second video, as a re-introduction to the project and a few of the people involved.

Putting Technology to Work

Above – another happy group of health workers, the program’s newest inductees. By the end of next week, there will be 50 phones in the field – next Wednesday, we’re adding Reproductive Health and Youth Counseling volunteers to the network.

Below, you’ll see some of the CHWs re-teaching SMS steps to the rest of the group – a key component of the training sessions.

Once the session ended, a few of the CHWs reviewed their notes:

Walking through a village this afternoon, I happened upon three separate barber shops, each advertising Phone Charging services.

Malawians understand mobiles. It’s time to put the technology to work.

Next week, amid further CHW orientation, we’re holding comprehensive training sessions for hospital staff – so that TB officers, ART directors, pediatric nurses, PMTCT coordinators, clinicians, and VCT volunteers alike can use FrontlineSMS to contact the CHWs.

Posted: July 12th, 2008
Categories: HIV/AIDS Care, Technology, Tuberculosis Management
Tags: , , , , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.