PHISICC? Design? Paper? People!
PHISICC matters a lot because it is about improving the lives of people. On the surface, it is easy to think that it is about paper or no paper, or less paper; you might be tempted to think that it is about less work for the health worker (maybe); but the truth is that it is really about people.
For Nigeria and other African countries, PHISSIC aims to address some critical questions:
- How can we improve the health outcomes of people in our communities?
- How can we create more time for interaction between patient and the health worker or more time for healthy interactions between the health workers and the communities they serve so we can get better results in our health indices?
One smart way of improving the lives of people is by increasing the amount of time the health worker spends with people whether at the health facility or in the communities during outreaches. This can be achieved by reducing the time the health worker has to spend with papers and documentation. Remember, in most of our Primary Health Care facilities in Nigeria, we have only one or two staff that are expected to do all the work from patient care to data capturing, register filling and even follow-up of the patient.
Can a specialist design approach help?
“It will be important to design registers, cards and other data capturing tools in forms
that are easy to fill and attractive to the health worker – that way you keep the balance
between patient care and data generation” – Dr Betta Edu, Director General,
Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Workshop participant
On this point, it is wise to remember there is really no strong evidence that better data leads to better decision making and better outcomes. In fact, most decisions made in the health sector at all levels are not based on data most of the time but on other things. So why spend all the time on data capturing rather than patient care?
The challenge now is: “How can we structure our registers and cards or other tools for data so that it is more attractive, understandable, readable, reliable and easy to fill by the health worker who has a huge overbearing workload?”
Stick with us and we will take you through what we learnt about design in two days…
3 top tips on how to be a good designer:
- First you must define the purpose, who will be using your design and in what context – your design must be suitable for the local context where it will be used;
- If you don’t remember anything, remember that you should always print the latest form or register being used on a piece of paper, cut it into sentences or words, physically rearrange them in a beautiful sequence on a blank sheet of paper creating a new style;
- You should also study content, looking for the things which are important or those which are not and should be taken out to make the work simple and beautiful!
More than design
PHISICC has taken the time to build our capacity on paper designing and we hope to take this knowledge back to our states and country. Côte d’Ivoire 2017 was very engaging and beyond what we came to learn. It brought key stakeholders into the same space to discuss many important issues relating to data in our country – not just those specific to PHISICC – and it also helped us to learn some good practice from other countries which we can replicate in our country.
For instance, if a woman leaves one health center where she initially registered for antenatal care and goes to another health center, the entire antenatal care registration and process is started afresh for her. For women who register at three or four places for a particular pregnancy, there is no link between the four facilities, nor is there any sharing of information. This means that data from one woman can be counted as four different data.
In Mozambique, the case is different. The woman is given a booklet which she takes home such that, even if she goes into any other health facility, what was done at the previous center can be seen in her booklet and services continued from there. This is good practice and should be introduced to Nigeria.
Written by: Team Nigeria (Dr Abatta, Dr Adoghe, Dr Edu, Dr Njepuome, Dr Obasi, Ms Oyo, Prof Oyo-Ita, Mr Ugi), Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire, 6 Dec 2017
Title image: Dr Betta Edu, CRS-NPHCDA, Nigeria
YAAY – PHISICC’s information design specialists
Other participant blogs from the design workshop from: Nigeria – Exploring ways to make health data speak!