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Alice Mugisha: Improving the usability of mobile electronic data capture forms in the health sector

Since joining UiB’s Centre for International Health PhD program in autumn 2015, Alice Mugisha has been working on a study and design of health mobile electronic data capture mechanism that could be applied in rural settings

Alice Mugisha
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CIH

Mugisha is a lecturer at the School of Computing and Informatics Technology at Makerere University in her home town Kampala, Uganda. 

Since joining UiB’s Centre for International Health PhD program in autumn 2015, she has been working on a study and design of health mobile electronic data capture mechanism that could be applied in rural settings. Alice says the use of electronic devices like mobile phones for harnessing health information is not a new phenomenon that her study is going to introduce. It is rather in place in most low and middle income nations. These mechanisms are very useful particularly in what she says are ‘hard to reach areas’. In such environments, data capturing forms are downloaded onto the mobile phones and data collection is done even without internet connection. Data collected by Community Health Workers (CHWs) are essential for client care, program monitoring and for health research schemes.

According to Alice’s assessment many of these data collectors however are semi-literate and some are not frequent users of technology which affects their interaction and user experience with the mobile forms during data collection. As a result, it affects the quality of the data being collected and hence the subsequent decisions that are made at the different health system levels.

The main goal of Alice’s research is therefore to improve the usability of mobile electronic data capture forms in order to make the data collectors comfortable during the data collection process.  This will be a collaborative process that will involve input from the data collectors (field users and health workers), the software developers (novice and experts) and the form developers. The anticipated output will be design principles that will aid the design and development of data capturing forms. These design principles will be embodied in prototypes which will be evaluated by the data collectors in a bid to determine the user experience during interaction.

Alice’s research is currently conducted on maternal and child health projects that are running in Uganda.

Alice is hopeful that the design principles that will be proposed will assist in the development of more usable data collection tools which will in turn improve on the quality of the collected data and the subsequent health care decisions.