Digital Health

Digital health is the application of digital technologies to enable and enhance health program reach, efficiency, and impact. While not all digital technologies are mobile enabled, the widespread use of mobile phones throughout low and middle income countries presents key opportunities to apply technology in health programs. Mobile messages, social media, and audio-visual content can educate consumers about health services and products, and reinforce training of providers. Digital systems and dashboards for data collection and management can improve decision-making and the quality of private sector service delivery models. Mobile wallets and payment platforms can facilitate participation in public and private health insurance and other financial risk protection programs.

SHOPS Plus applies evidence-based digital solutions to project activities, contributing to the quality and accessibility of health information, financing, and services for underserved and at-risk populations. Digital health platforms offer a particularly promising opportunity for engagement between the public and private sectors, making it easier to share data and partner on health activities.

SHOPS Plus applies digital innovation in many ways:

  • Provider training, networking, and supervision
  • Consumer education and behavior change
  • Data collection and reporting for health management information systems
  • Digital financial services for health
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Sustainable business models
  • Facilitation of public-private partnerships
  • Research and landscape assessments

Examples of our digital approaches to support private healthcare providers:

In Nigeria, SHOPS Plus developed TB STARR, a mobile application intended for clinicians, pharmacies, labs, and drug shops to improve TB screening, reporting, tracking, and referrals. A complementary web-based dashboard and data portal was also developed to support data visualization and decision-making at the state, national, and donor-funded project levels. TB STARR is currently available in Google Play. Read more here.

SHOPS Plus Nigeria also established on-demand audio job aids to reinforce family planning training for private providers. Providers can dial “3-2-1” and listen to technical training content and take quizzes for free on any mobile phone using an Airtel SIM card. Providers offered feedback on this approach here.

In Afghanistan, SHOPS Plus developed a mobile app to enable retailers of family planning products to make orders online for timely stock replenishment. The app also gives retailers the opportunity to provide feedback on the “Four Ps” of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion, as well as sales servicing to the local social marketing organization (ASMO).

Examples of our digital approaches to engage and inform consumers and beneficiaries:

In India, SHOPS Plus developed an artificial intelligence chatbot called HelloJubi to increase access to information on family planning among the urban poor. HelloJubi answers questions, prompts users to explore common topics, and directs users to additional services and resources. HelloJubi is available in English and Hindi here. You can read more here.

In Haiti, SHOPS Plus developed and deployed a multi-channel digital communication platform which engaged more than a hundred thousand beneficiaries in ongoing communication via basic mobile phones. Our on demand and push systems used interactive voice response (IVR) and SMS to reach beneficiaries with important information on family planning, Zika, cholera, maternal and child health, and disaster responses. Beneficiaries also responded to market surveys to share key insights into health attitudes and consumer behaviors. Read more here.

In Nepal, SHOPS Plus is currently developing a mobile app to provide current and potential contraceptive users with information about the geographic location of the socially franchised Sangini outlets and what types of contraceptives are available at the outlets. Additionally, the app will send Sangini clients reminders about their next appointment to receive an injectable contraceptive.

In Tanzania, SHOPS Plus increased enrollment of people living with HIV in the Jamii mobile health insurance scheme to finance their HIV care and treatment. Mobile-based registration, premium payments and claims processing simplified the process and led to rapid enrollment of more than 20,000 new beneficiaries. Read more about this award-winning digital innovation here.

Examples of our digital approaches to enable private sector participation and representation in national health management information systems (HMIS)

In Madagascar, SHOPS plus digitized the monthly reporting form for the national HMIS so that it would autocalculate and validate key indicators, and so it could be transmitted electronically, reducing logistical and cost barriers. The form was approved by the Ministry of Health in 2020 and about half of newly trained providers in the capital region opt to use it. Read more about the challenges of routine reporting in Madagascar here.

In Tanzania, SHOPS Plus initiated routine reporting practices by Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs) via a USSD submission platform that is integrated with a private sector DHIS2 instance. SHOPS Plus provided tailored registers to ADDOs to capture 18 family planning and child health indicators, which they could transmit via their basic mobile phone.

SHOPS Plus published a report on the lessons learned during a pilot on private sector pharmacy reporting into DHIS2 in Kenya here.

Countries: Afghanistan, Haiti (Increase FP demand, Zika Prevention, Home water treatment), India (Improving maternal care, Improving TB care, Increasing birth spacing), Kenya, Madagascar, MENA, Nepal, Nigeria,  Senegal, Tanzania

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Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is a five-year cooperative agreement (AID-OAA-A-15-00067) funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID. The information provided on this website is not official U.S. government information and does not represent the views or positions of USAID or the U.S. government.

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