While it may not have made waves in international news, there is a new development in digital health that is very exciting for us at Bluesquare: The Digital Investment Principles.
If you have not heard of them yet, they are 10 guidelines that donors can endorse to demonstrate their commitment to working together towards improved collaboration in digital health. Created by leading players – the World Bank, the European Union, USAID, Unicef, WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – these 25 key donors and foundations are making their commitment known.
Principles 1-5 focus on collaboration, sustainable alignment in investments and a commitment for donors to make these investments a priority. The last five provide guidance on where the investments should go: creation and evolution, country capacity and peer-learning to call a few out.
At their center is an urgent call. One that we at Bluesquare have championed for the last 5 years – and that is alignment of investments to the national digital health strategies already in place in each country.
We have worked with Ministries of Health in over 25 countries. Our work has focused on integrated health information systems. Health information systems that support decision making from existing data while finding the most cost-effective ways of collecting additional data. We have seen and experienced the challenges to accomplishing this first hand.
These principles could not come at a better time. While they are simple in nature, they demonstrate how far we have come in the last few years for a meaningful dialogue on the importance of coordinated efforts in digital health in developing countries.
We are eager to continue to be part of the important work in this space.
After more than a year of hard work, and months of testing and improvement, we are very pleased to officially release the new ORBF tool to help manage RBF and strategic purchasing on top of DHIS2 platforms.
Since 2012, Bluesquare has been developing and deploying OpenRBF in many countries. OpenRBF was a separate and stand alone software platform. In 2016, we decided to re-build the software, and split it into several modules, while maintaining our focus on technology that would enhance the health financing capability of DHIS2. This led to the development of three software modules that are plugged into DHIS2: DataCollect (an ODK to DHIS2 offline mobile android app), DataViz (a data visualisation interface used for RBF portals), and ORBF, a health financing rule engine.
Over the coming months we will share more on these modules. For today we will focus on ORBF and its great capabilities.
The first impression you get when you meet Romain is his discreet nature, attention to detail, commitment to quality and a dedication to the work he does. So when we asked him to tell us about himself, it was clear we wanted to understand how he got where he is today.
While his journey was not linear we immediately notice a central theme: his commitment to understanding complex problems and his desire to make an impact.
Another year for Bluesquare – The same vision, different ways
At Bluesquare, what drives us is the desire to make the world a better place. Our goal is to ensure that every citizen on this planet has access to a minimum package of health services. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. The community surrounding the Tipo health center in the DRC has benefited from barely any substantial Global Health investment over the last years. So, helping Global Health players allocate their resources in a smarter way, so that it goes where it matters most, is where we can continue to make a difference. How will we get there? We believe that technology and data can influence this allocation in two ways : increase efficiency of existing investments through better data insights and financial disintermediation, and make Global Health a more attractive investment for countries and citizens looking to invest in this space.
But how do we translate this vision into operational priorities? Here is our focus for 2018.
Watch here a video by our Product Lead, Elena Ignatova, introducing Data Viz, one of Bluesquare product that allow visualizing data in DHIS2.
Health RBF programs typically evaluate patient satisfaction quarterly to verify the information declared by health centers about the services offered. Every quarter, a sampling of patients who visit the health facility are interviewed usually by Community-Based Organizations (CBO). Once data has been collected, a “community satisfaction score” is calculated for each provider, which impacts the payment/bonus allocated to that provider. In most countries, this process is paper-based.
In early 2016, Benin’s Ministry of Health scaled up its Results-Based Financing (RBF) system. This move has ensured that all health care providers (all public, most faith-based, some private) are surveyed quarterly to externally assess service availability and quality of care. To aid Benin’s government, Bluesquare has been providing strategic support to their RBF data system.
The use of mobile devices has simplified and brought value to the process of collecting and managing data. The simplicity and benefits of going mobile, clearly demonstrate why it’s the next step you should take in your data collection project.
As mentioned in a previous post: internet coverage is increasing in developing countries and universal internet access is no longer just a dream. So, what does this mean for global health? What does this mean for health data systems?
When delivering software to our customers or helping them setup a DHIS2 for their National Health Information System (NHIS), we always end up with the same question: where should to host the system? While Web Applications can be developed using various languages and technologies, they are common enough to require at minimum a database (to host the data), a web server (to run the code and pages that make the application), and possibly a few other services (e.g. a mail server).