Automating the Accreditation of Medical Professional Schools In Haiti Case Study

By formalizing the accreditation process of nursing and medical schools, the “Institutions de Sciences Infirmières et Médicales (ISIM)” website helps to improve medical health education in Haiti.

How Solution Meets Need

Built using PHP/Laravel, the Institutions de Sciences Infirmières et Médicales (ISIM) website Reconnaissance was developed with the general population in mind. The Reconnaissance website provides an online listing of schools recognized by the Haiti Ministry of Health and a method for schools seeking accreditation to apply. Working with Abt Associates’ International Health Division (IHD) staff, with team members in country, the Client Technology Center (CTC) defined system requirements for the website, including a school listing and database, national exam statistics, and other school information to provide to the public. The website uses English and French and is mobile-accessible.

The Reconnaissance website uses a relational database backend to store and display school information on the website. This allows administrators to dynamically change and display information easily, based on preferences. The website incorporates additional features such as geo-mapping, automatic email notifications, automatic backups, and the ability to print and enter evaluation data.

The directory is fully scalable to the size of the database, allowing the website to grow with time and use. Users can turn to the Reconnaissance website for the latest and most up-to-date information regarding nursing and medical schools in Haiti.

Principles Addressed

Design with the User: In collaboration with USAID’s Health, Finance and Governance (HFG) project, CTC designed the Reconnaissance website and interface to be user-friendly. Through several online demonstrations and screen shares, the CTC worked with project staff in Haiti to design a website that was intuitive and simple to use. In addition, the website is mobile-accessible to accommodate the use of mobile devices.

Understand the Ecosystem: Following the Department of Training and Development for Health Services (DFPSS) accreditation process closely, the website was designed to complement existing business processes. Knowing that Internet bandwidth and electrical power are sometimes issues of concern, the website was built with for quick easy access with multiple save intervals to prevent data entry loss. In addition, since school evaluators may not have access to the website during a site visit, the option to print school self-evaluations exists.

Design for Scale: Knowing that school information and exam statistics change frequently (if not yearly), the Reconnaissance website was built with a relational database structure that allows information to be changed easily and displayed dynamically. New users, schools, and self-evaluation questions can be added as needed, with database storage being the only limitation.

Reuse & Improve: Concepts from another USAID/Abt project based on PHP/Laravel were used in the development of the Reconnaissance website.

Address Privacy & Security: As an Abt-hosted website, a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate was installed on the website to prevent unauthorized access.

Be Collaborative: The Reconnaissance website allows schools to edit their own online profiles. By delegating information management to the community, information is more likely to stay current. This also encourages schools to collaborate with students to provide the most relevant information.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

• To overcome barriers to designing with the end user, Abt conducted online demos and screen sharing sessions. In addition, the website design was shared with DFPSS staff in-person during the early phases of the project.
• To overcome issues of scalability, the website was built with a relational database.
• Staffing issues represented a barrier for the project. This issue continues as a technical point of contact and administrator for the website has yet to be identified.
• Designing with the end user was challenging due to the geographic
difference between the US and Haiti. This was mitigated through the support of local staff from HFG. In addition, the website design was shared with DFPSS staff in the early stages of the project.
• Encouraging users to collaboration is always a challenge. The website depends on schools to independently maintain their profiles, although website administrators have the ability to edit profiles on their behalf.
• End user training is always a barrier to technology adoption. To combat this, in-person training sessions were conducted in Haiti and in French.

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