Another year for Bluesquare – The same vision, different ways.

Enhanced geospatial data management for more effective program planning and monitoring

At Bluesquare, what drives us is the desire to make the world a better place. Our goal is to ensure that every citizen on this planet has access to a minimum package of health services. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. The community surrounding the Tipo health center in the DRC has benefited from barely any substantial Global Health investment over the last years. Thus, helping Global Health players allocate their resources in a smarter way so that it goes where it matters most, is where we can continue to make a difference. How will we get there? We believe that technology and data can influence this allocation in two ways. First, by increasing efficiency of existing investments through better data insights and financial disintermediation. Second, by making Global Health a more attractive investment for countries and citizens looking to invest in this space.   

But how do we translate this vision into operational priorities? Here is our focus for 2018.

Underlying it all we maintain our continued focus on software.

In 2017, based on feedback from our clients, we phased out the development of OpenRBF. We also refocused our efforts on building four software modules. These modules connect to DHIS2 and help Health Ministries and organizations accomplish more with the OpenSource platform. DataCollect supports off-line data collection. ORBF serves as a computational engine. DataViz creates public facing visualization and dashboards. And D2D connects different DHIS2 platforms. Combined, these instruments provide a full suite and a powerful data management platform. Over the course of 2018 we will continue to improve these tools for different thematic areas which I highlight below..

First, health financing and strategic purchasing data systems. Countries like Cameroon, Senegal, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Liberia are using the new Result-Based-Financing platform. In 2018, we will continue to release new features:

  • New mobile client satisfaction surveys management. In April we released new android and web interfaces to help data managers monitor the verification process and to help different local community-based organizations manage their survey process. The tool now includes a smarter automated matching and verification feature.
  • In March we also released an improved version of DataViz, the visualization tool that plugs into DHIS2  to create RBF portals, and to improve data transparency and accountability. The tool now supports  benchmarking, visualization of actual vs. target data, and more… You can see the tool in action in Côte d’Ivoire or DRC.
  • Our team’s focus now is on Risk-based Verification. We want to help countries and NGOs reduce the implementation cost of RBF and allocate more resources to the most vulnerable front-line health facilities. We are working on algorithms and interfaces that will help data managers identify which facilities are at risk for fraud.
  • In 2017, we set-up a Beta version of a new app supporting clinical vignettes, a new method for  quality of care measurements. We will work on improving this instrument through field testing and live iterations in two countries.
  • And, last but not least, we will improve the interfaces and dashboards that strategic purchasers and RBF managers use to ease the management of benefit packages and resources allocation.

We will also continue to deploy this new platform to new countries (we started recently in Uganda) and propose to upgrade all OpenRBF platforms with the new ORBF module.

Second, building data intelligence on top of data sources

Another strategic move is that Result-Based Financing will no longer be the sole focus for Bluesquare.

Bluesquare is now putting substantial efforts in integrating multiple data sources to help our clients gain precise understanding of a specific topic or issue. For example, we are now integrating five data sources to identify where sleeping sickness elimination activities should be prioritized: case based data, HMIS data, geospatial data, screening team capability and even video. Another project is continuously evaluating  access and availability of Family Planning services in West Africa. A third is about precisely mapping drug availability and drug resistance in two countries. We develop this data system integration capability through new softwares. For example, D2D, that helps connect two DHIS2 platforms, and data modelling approaches.

There is a strong connection between these data system integration efforts and our health financing work. The future of Result-Based Financing and strategic purchasing is to help build performance and purchasing metrics based on any available data.

Third, broadening applications thanks to the modular approach

Thanks to the modular approach of our software products, and the continuous improvements of DHIS2 we are able to offer more data management solutions. Today, we provide broad DHIS2 services and support to multiple clients, and for multiple use cases. The company supports Health Management and Information Systems (HMIS), maternal and child health data systems, nutrition specific systems, HIV control data systems (link to Cordaid SIS dashboard), Water and Sanitation data platforms, education monitoring (link to Edu Data Viz in ROC or Malawi) or Leprosis control data systems. We will continue to improve our services, including hosting, customization, training and custom app development.

Stay tuned for more on the progress of all of these exciting developments.