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Theses Doctoral

Use of informatics methods to identify problems and then design, develop and evaluate solutions to support health workers in their management of malaria...

Carlo Unda, Maria Lorena

Malaria is both a preventable and curable disease if treated early and appropriately. However, it is estimated that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The use of innovative eHealth/mHealth tools for malaria that seamlessly integrate into the workflow of healthcare workers could potentially ameliorate this problem. Successful design and development of these tools require an overarching understanding of the socio-technical context for the problems and opportunities in the application domain. A series of studies involving malaria management in the Millennium Village Project (MVP) cluster in rural Ghana were performed. A new method introduced by the author was applied to prioritize health information needs of stakeholders that have the potential to have a higher impact in solving health related problems. The result of applying this method was a group of impactful interventions for the MVP malaria program in Ghana. Findings from this study were validated with the MVP Ghana eHealth team, and after mutual agreement, an eHealth/mHealth intervention around malaria supply chain management was selected for further study. User-Centered Design (UCD) methods were adapted for use in a resource poor setting. Functional and non-functional requirements were identified. A low fidelity prototype was created and early usability inputs were collected. A high fidelity prototype was created to provide decision support to health workers through visualizations of stock levels and recommendations of quantities to order. Results from evaluation studies of the high fidelity prototype with end users suggest that they perceive the prototype as both easy to use and useful, with a potential for adoption and with a low risk of implementation. Usability problems found during the course of the study should be addressed to increase the potential of adoption. To obtain a more complete list of usability issues, both users’ and experts’ evaluations are recommended as well as the use of native and foreign test facilitators.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Informatics
Thesis Advisors
Kanter, Andrew S.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 16, 2016


Full Title: Use of informatics methods to identify problems and then design, develop and evaluate solutions to support health workers in their management of malaria in the Millennium Village Project, Bonsaaso, Ghana

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