In 2016, MiracleFeet received a 3-year, $1 million grant from Google.org to work on using healthcare technology innovation to creatively address four areas of clubfoot treatment in need of improvement:
- Mobile patient data collection
- SMS (text) communication with parents and guardians
- Tracking brace use compliance
- Creating eLearning modules for providers
This update will focus on area #1 – how we are addressing the need for an improved patient data collection system.
The Problem: Unnecessary Work and Long Lag Times
The current data collection we are working to improve looks like this:
- Staff records patient registration and appointment notes on paper forms at the clubfoot clinic, typically open one or two days per week.
- A clinic coordinator working from an internet café or their home network enters data from the paper forms into a browser-based clubfoot database that is reliably accessible only while online.
- MiracleFeet HQ staff can access standard reports and quality metrics within the database after the information is successfully entered.
The drawbacks of this approach are several. Coordinators have to enter the patient data twice – once on paper and again into the database. Reliable internet is scarce in many of the countries where we work, which frequently results in a high lag time between when a patient is seen by a provider and when MiracleFeet can access the data.
The Solution: CAST
Our exciting solution for area #1 (mobile patient data collection) is the creation and roll-out of an interactive data collection system housed in a mobile app we call CAST (Clubfoot Administration SysTem). This application:
– works offline
– is integrated with an interactive SMS/text system
– reduces the use of paper and streamlines reporting and data collection
– can be improved over time without the need for a full-time developer
– enables data to be easily shared with other organizations working in clubfoot
For the past two years, we have been working with a team from Google and Dimagi, a socially-conscious global technology company, to design and develop the app. In February 2017, we piloted the first English version of the app in 14 clinics in 6 states in India. We then piloted the French version in two African countries: Madagascar in August 2017 and the Republic of the Congo last October. We were so pleased with the results of the pilots and the app is being met by rave reviews, including this one from a clinic worker in the Congo:
Next up, we’ll roll out version 3 of the app to 180+ clinics across 20 countries before July 2019 and assist the global clubfoot community with adoption and use. Additionally, we’ll work on building the data analysis layer so we can continue our mission of improving treatment quality and patient outcomes.