[PROBLEM]: Health Malawi - Clinicians have Inadequate Time with Patients - February 2019

Mel Castillo
Mel Castillo | 3 months ago | in Health Consulting - Malawi


In December 2018, the Health Consulting Team conducted interviews with Heads of Clinics in Blantyre in order to validate the customer segment. Through conducting these interviews, the team generated invaluable insights with regard to the healthcare challenges clinicians confront and their associated emotions.

From these insights, the January 2019 Health team were able to construct a problem-centric message that encapsulated the challenges identified by Heads of Clinics. This forms the underpinning process of offer testing.

The offer was sent as a text message to Head Clinicians along with a call-to-action at the end of the message. The text was as follows:

‘We understand that you may be frustrated by the lack of quality time your clinicians get with patients and want better health outcomes for them. If interested, please reply. If you would like more information and access to our website, reply with your email address.’

The purpose of conducting offer testing experiments was to assess whether identified problems have been accurately defined; and if they have been, the level of engagement clinicians demonstrate.

In February, a second iteration of the offer test was conducted; this time via phone calls. The problem centric message was adapted for the phone call and expressed as “do you feel frustrated from a lack of quality consultation time with patients?”

Results & Insights

Summary of January Results:

From the 26 text messages sent, seven positive responses were received. This validates the frustration clinicians experience, and therefore their active engagement with the identified problems. The responses also entailed their desire to provide health care to patients, which further heightens their level of engagement.

Link to January Results Post:

Summary of February Results:

We called 14 Head Clinicians and proper contact was established with 12 of them (the other two never picked up). Of these,  seven remained on the phone; the remaining five either requested to be contacted at another time or via text message - from which we received no replies. However, clinicians, who remained on the phone, all conveyed frustration as a result of inadequate consultation time with patients, and subsequently provided their email address as a means of contact. The success rate is 58%, which reaffirms that Heads of Clinics are actively engaged with the identified problems.

Note: There were originally 18 Head Clinicians on the list but three were incorrect numbers and one contact no longer works at their clinic.

Link to February Results Post:

The responses received from both the January and February offer tests can provide insight into the accuracy of and clinician engagement with the defined problem.

Who Responded:

Clinics where the Head Clinician responded positively to the text message:

South Lunzu Clinic

Zingwangwa Health Centre

Makhetha Clinic

Mdeka Clinic

Ndirande Health Centre

Ameca Clinic

Chileka Health Centre

Clinics where the Head Clinician responded positively to the phone call:

Chirimba Clinic

Dziwe Clinic

Kadidi Clinic

Limbe Clinic

Lirangwe Clinic

Lundu Clinic

Mpemba Clinic

From the above clinics, the Health Consulting Team only had pre-existing and active relationships with Zingwangwa Health Centre and Ndirande Health Centre. Therefore, the remaining responses are from Clinics that have not recently engaged with the Health team. As these Heads of Clinics do not have any existing sympathies with the Health team, or PEV more generally, their responses are likely purely based on their emotions towards and level of engagement with the problem identified. This further verifies that the problem has been accurately identified and defined.

Nature of the Responses:

All text message responses included the email address of the respective Clinic Head. Similarly, those who engaged properly in the phone call all willingly provided their email address in order to obtain additional information. In particular, a few Head Clinicians displayed enthusiasm about a possible solution to their identified problems. The nature of these responses demonstrates that not only do Heads of Clinics engage with the problem identified, but their level of engagement with this problem statement is high. Moreover, responses via email indicates their interest in the Health Project and collaboration within this problem space.


As previously discussed, the results of the offer experiment showed that Heads of Clinics clearly identify with the problem as it is defined. Moving forward from offer testing, the team conduct in-person meetings with clinicians who responded positively via email.Through this, the team will strengthen existing relationships and develop new connections, which is an invaluable step moving forward to currency testing.

As Heads of Clinics are important stakeholders, it is imperative that these relationships are positively maintained. Additionally, these relationships will provide valuable insight in shaping the scope and future direction of the project. Consequently, we hope to develop a successful technological solution that culminates these insights and more importantly addresses the identified problems.

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