Making Data Collection in Low-resource Contexts Intuitive, Fun, and Interactive

Martin Martino, Eric Obeysekare, Greg Wenner, and Khanjan Mehta

Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

Martino, M., Obeysekare, E., Wenner, G., Mehta, K., “Making Data Collection in Low-resource Contexts Intuitive, Fun, and Interactive,” Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, San Jose, CA, Oct 2014


Community health data can be used to track diseases, facilitate efficient deployment of medical resources, or reduce clinic wait times in fledgling healthcare systems in developing countries. Despite these potential benefits, many electronic data collection, aggregation and digitization projects fail within a few years of launching. Over a three-year span, Community Health Workers (CHWs) operating our telemedicine venture in East Africa retrogressed from using laptops and netbooks, to smartphones and basic cell phones, to pen and paper. The reasons for these technology downgrades can be attributed to diverse contextual, business-related, communication, coordination, and technological challenges that compromise the collection of data. To address this health data collection challenge, our team has designed intuitive, fun, power-efficient, and rugged devices that draw on principles of tangible computing, user-centered design, and interaction design. By incorporating lights, sounds, and instant feedback, these devices are designed to become a natural part of CHW-client interactions rather than cumbersome, intrusive distractions. This article describes the design of three interactive prototypes to gamify the health data collection process and preliminary test results from their deployment in Kenya.


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