HEALTH

“Where is the knowledge in information? Where is the wisdom in knowledge?” Bihar Principal Secretary Sanjay Kumar, IAS shared this guiding principle with CARE India and IBM Health Corps at the launch of their partnership to demonstrate the value of health data integration. Information isn’t lacking; rather data is not used to its fullest potential to help inform decision-making to impact the availability, accessibility, and affordability of health care. This unique partnership between CARE and IBM is intent on changing that.

CARE India was selected through a competitive process to receive an IBM Health Corps grant. IBM Health Corps is a global philanthropic initiative committed to reducing health disparities. Akin to an incubator, IBM Health Corps provides the environment, experts, and services needed to nurture new ideas in public and population health. Selected partner organizations receive an interdisciplinary team of 6 IBMers to work on-site with the organization for 3 weeks. The IBM teams bring their expertise in data, technology, and design and together with the partner, work to co-create a solution to a mission-driven priority.

In Bihar, the IBM and CARE teams are examining how data integration can bring insights into improving the supply chain for essential medicines. The challenge is two separate datasets – e-Aushadhi which is a drug warehouse management system, and Sanjivani which is an outpatient registration system with drug consumption data – are siloed. The IBM Health Corps team arrived in Patna in September to build a proof of concept platform that integrates the two data sets and provides actionable visualizations of the data in order to assist decision-makers like civil surgeons and state bureaucrats more efficiently use resources, avoid drug stock-outs, and lower out of pocket expenditures.

To understand the context of this challenge, in their first week, the IBM team visited a district hospital and primary health center in Vaishali, and regional and drug warehouses, met with numerous key players across the Government of Bihar, and led a design thinking workshop with stakeholders to understand how technology can be used to solve true human needs. One critical need identified is how to improve the accuracy of drug demand forecasting, both on an annual and quarterly basis, so adequate stock exists at each clinic. The right drugs, at the right place, at the right time, is essential to improving patients’ health and financial outcomes.

At the end of the project, IBM will deliver to CARE the platform code and roadmap by which to extend the tool. As a trusted partner to the Government of Bihar, CARE stands ready to empower these decision makers to use data-driven insights to improve health.

Learn more about IBM’s initiative at ibmhealthcorps.org

Learn more about CARE’s work in Bihar at bihar.care.org

Posted By : Shashi Suman, Consultant, CARE India; Natalie E Dawe, Health Initiatives Manager, IBM
Location : Bihar