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Experimental Prototype Testing – Phase 1 - Malawi

by
Ella Grier
Ella Grier | Jul 27, 2017 | in Health Consulting

The Health Assessment team in Malawi have observed and encountered many interesting insights on health related issues. Across various communities in the Nancholi region – main issues have overwhelming included a lack of access to healthcare facilities and services at overcrowded hospitals and clinics, as well as in a domestic context. (See Health Assessment Challenge – Malawi comment section for a more detailed overview)

The team have begun preliminary ideation and have identified requirements of a potential tech based solution that aims at streamlining the triage process in major facilities and acts a a diagnostic tool in a household context. Ultimately, this will relieve the immense strain on major facilities and simultaneously relieve barriers of transport and cost for community members that live up to 3hrs from their closest healthcare outpost.

The Health assessment team were so keen to assess the viability of this potential solution that we decided to proceed with preliminary testing – taking the yourMD into the clinic of one our major NGO stakeholder, NAYO, to assess response.

While feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, both from an accuracy and usability perspective, I believe in order to fully legitimize our activities, the Health team must set out a scientific experiment, with consistent parameters of measurement and controls that can be applied to multiple cognitive diagnostic tech – apps such as yourMD beta, webMD, .

This will allow us to evaluate components of each technology that enable the development of our own platform that is a culmination of key functions that are relevant and operative in a developing context.

The experiment can be carried out in major health facilities which the PE health team has an established a relationship with – including Queen Elizabeth’s Central Hospital, Zingwangwa Public Clinic, Pensulo Clinic and NAYO clinic.

 

Parameters that have been set out so far are:

- Accuracy. This is primary - in order assess the viability of this. At NAYO, we conducted consultations and withheld the apps outcome from the patients. Later we compared the outcomes to the diagnostic reports of the clinicians and generated this measurement as a percentage.

- Usability. It’s imperative that the app be received well by both facilitators, in this context NAYO field guides, and patients. We asked those engaging with the app to rate their experience in terms of usability with each trial in order to understand how the technology was being recieved, as well as how usability increased with repetition, which is similarly important 

- Time. One of the major aims of this technology is to decrease the strain on diagnostic process’ of hospitals and clinics, which is inherently linked to the amount of time the application will take to achieve a result. The team has therefore conducted time trials of the start-finish process of the technology and compared them to consultation times with clinicians for the same patients.

  

As a team, we would appreciate feedback on these activities, how we can build this experiment and any suggested parameters or controls that should be considered with trials. I also encourage everyone in the community to download the apps to assess them for yourselves. Any feedback would be great!

 

 

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