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How Living Goods Uses Smart Mobile Tools for Better Health Outcomes

IN ,
BY Brad Presner • August 19, 2015

Last summer, Living Goods launched an important test. We asked 30 of our Uganda community health promoters (CHPs) in our Mafubira branch to test out a new set of Android smartphone apps to help them better register, diagnose and treat children and pregnant mothers. We weren’t sure what to expect. Would the agents be comfortable with this new technology? Would customers respond positively? It quickly became apparent that the answer to the questions was “YES!” We are proud to report that 100% of Living Goods’ CHPs in Uganda are now on our Android platform. While this transition certainly wasn’t without issues — for example, ensuring phone batteries stay charged and making sure agents have sufficient data available — the response from the field has been overwhelmingly positive. CHPs have spoken of increased confidence, the ability to provide better care, and the feeling that their customers see them in a different light when they show them the amazing things that they can do with the smartphones. Going to the next level Living Goods has partnered with Medic Mobile to help take our Android apps to the next level. The Medic team did field usability testing to identify places agents were getting stuck or having trouble with the apps’ workflow. They also supported us in making our existing apps more user-friendly, making a beautiful interface that is easy to use and effective.
“If you visit a household with Living Goods health promoters, you’ll see the power of mobile applications in community health— CHPs are supported as they deliver critical products and services, connected to their managers, and viewed as professionals in the community. Living Goods is a fast-moving, innovative partner and technology is now fully embedded into their model.”— Medic Mobile’s CEO Josh Nesbit
Aside from arming our agents with mobile tools to help with their day-to-day work, mobile technology enables Living Goods to make use of more robust, real-time data flows. In tandem with reaching 100% Android adoption with our CHPs, we also have launched on the Medic Mobile analytics platform across all eight of our Uganda branches. Several months of field design work, rapid prototyping, and iteration have resulted in a set of key management dashboards that we recently launched during our monthly branch manager meetings. The purpose of our dashboards goes beyond simply reporting what happened in a given time frame — though we certainly want every branch manager to know how their teams have done in the last week, month, or quarter relative to their targets. More importantly, the vision that we shared with Medic Mobile was to push the envelope of what’s happening today in the use of mobile technology for health. We sought to deliver a set of tools that would drive action by giving the team the information that they need to do their jobs more effectively, more quickly, and in a more targeted manner. When a branch manager knows, in real-time, which of her agents are struggling or which of her customers have urgent conditions that require immediate follow-up, she is armed with the tools that help her to respond.
“It allows us to have real-time response. We have real-time data. We can identify what agents need support and get out to them quickly.”—Alfred Wise, Living Goods Uganda Country Manager
Infusing mobile technology through our entire operation Although the conversion of all of our CHPs to our Android platform and the launch of our analytics tools mark a significant milestone in our operations, we are not done. We don’t see our use of mobile technology as a glitzy side project. These tools are critical and are now embedded in everything we do at Living Goods. They will ensure that we maintain and increase our level of impact as we scale our operations to double the number of branches and four times the number of CHPs over the next several years in Uganda. Throughout the rest of this year, we will continue working closely with the Medic Mobile team to jointly build and launch a new version of Android apps. These apps will be more flexible and scalable, allowing us to promote the adoption of mobile tools with our Kenyan team and our partners. The apps will bring additional capabilities into the hands of our CHPs — more automated ways of flagging the most acute treatment cases or high-risk pregnancies and prompting CHPs to focus their day-to-day work where they are needed the most. Our analytics tools will continue to evolve to ensure that data flows across Living Goods, enabling our teams to maintain quality and focus on the most actionable insights and time sensitive cases. The result will be better care for our clients, which is always our Number 1 priority. Supported by Cisco Cisco has supported Living Goods’ efforts to make mobile technology the backbone of our model, used by every agent every day to expand sales, reach and impact, lower costs and drive real-time continuous improvement.
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