Health

On the Go: USAID MEASURE DHS Data Available in New Mobile App

With pressure to base policies and programs on meticulously collected data, there is a need to make USAID funded Monitoring and Evaluation to Assess and Use Results Demographic and Health Surveys (MEASURE DHS) reports more readily available.  However, many developing countries have no access to a tangible library of DHS reports, nor a reliable internet connection to visit the MEASURE DHS website to access these surveys.

Luckily, the rapid increase in the mobile phone and smartphone usage  has given the MEASURE DHS team hope.  The popularity of these devices can grant anyone access to DHS reports, from policy makers in Washington, D.C. to remote communities in rural Africa.  In fact, according to Pingdom’s STATcounter, 15% of Africa’s internet browsing in May 2012 came from mobile devices, an increase of more than 150% from 2010.

With the help of MEASURE DHS technology partner, Blue Raster, the DHS Mobile application was developed.  MEASURE DHS mobile covers over ninety countries, including data on vaccination, childhood mortality, nutrition, HIV testing and prevalence, literacy rates, twenty other indicators.  It displays trends within a single country through Quickstats, and allows users to compare and contrast the most common indicators through a series of tables, charts and maps.  It also provides basic information about the individual surveys, such as sample size, timing, and topics included, and links to download the final reports, Key Findings, and fact sheets.

Recognizing the need to build an application that is available on multiple mobile platforms, Blue Raster, an Adobe Partner, utilized Adobe PhoneGap to compile both iOS and Android applications.  PhoneGap Build allowed Blue Raster to capitalize on their experience in web-standard technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript to rapidly build and deploy the app.  Spatial data is delivered to the app using the ArcGIS 10.1 platform.  Basemap tiles are accessed from ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online, and the Esri Javascript API was used to link the geometry and data.

The app also stores all the indicator and survey data locally on the device, and periodically checks for updates.  This functionality truly enables users to connect with the data, despite the absence of consistent internet, and allows policymakers and program managers to visit field sites without having to create massive, tangible copies of data or abandon the data completely.

The DHS mobile application is free and available for Apple iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android smartphones and tablets.  Blue Raster will work with the MEASURE DHS team to enhance the application with new features and continue to improve the user experience in the coming months.  For suggestions in improving the DHS Mobile application, please email mobile@measuredhs.com.

 

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MOBILE APP MODELS HIV PREVENTION STRATEGIES AND OUTCOMES

Each year, nations spend millions of dollars on efforts to prevent HIV infections without completely understanding the most effective ways to allocate these funds.  To equip health officials and policymakers with effective decision-making tools, Avenir Health worked with Blue Raster to develop the Goals Express: HIV Impact Tool, a new tablet app for iPad and Android devices.  This mobile application will be used to examine how coverage for various HIV intervention strategies affects progress toward national HIV prevention goals, including the reduction of new HIV infections.

Goals Express, which was introduced at the AIDS 2012 international conference in Washington DC, is based on the Goals Model, a web-based simulation tool used to plan HIV prevention and treatment programs.  Similar to the web application, the new Goals Express app can be used to model the spread of HIV in a national population in four different epidemic scenarios (generalized, concentrated, hyper-endemic and injection drug-driven epidemics).  Tablet users can manipulate slider bars to adjust the coverage level for several different HIV interventions, including antiretroviral therapy and youth outreach, to identify cost-effective combinations of prevention and treatment strategies.

“We expect that this app will encourage people to explore different HIV prevention and treatment strategies and gain insight into the best ways to allocate resources in different epidemic settings,” said John Stover, president and founder of Futures Institute.  Goals Express, which was developed with HTML5 and deployed to iOS and Android devices using PhoneGap Build, is now available for download from the Apple App Store, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore at no cost.

iTunes App StoreGoogle PlayAmazon App Store

Rethinking Health Mapping with Rich Visualizations

Blue Raster is pleased to announce the release of the new version of HealthLandscape, an interactive web-based mapping tool for healthcare providers, advocates, researchers, and policy makers.  HealthLandscape Version 3, which was launched in October, enhances the power of this award-winning GIS application, which allows healthcare professionals to combine, analyze, and display health information in ways that promote understanding, improve outcomes, and reduce cost of healthcare.  In July 2011, HealthLandscape and UDS Mapper took first place in the Web-Based GIS Application category at the Esri International User Conference’s User Software Applications Fair.

Blue Raster upgraded HealthLandscape from a legacy server system (ArcIMS) to ArcGIS Server and Flex API to provide users with more dynamic applications and greater functionality.  Most notably, HealthLandscape’s anthology of health-related tools can now be combined, enabling the user to use them all in one mapping viewer.  Users can turn tools on and off depending on their data needs and display layers from multiple tools on the map at the same time.

The new version also makes it easier for healthcare professionals and advocates to combine their own data with existing health maps and public sources of health, socio-economic and environmental information.  Using the new QuickGeocodes tool, users can upload data from Excel spreadsheets to create instant health maps.  They can also use the new QuickThemes tool to upload state, county or zip code-level data to create thematic maps that show how health information varies from region to region.

Visit HealthLandscape and see for yourself how it conveniently brings together and communicates critical health information and trends with compelling custom maps.

MEASURE DHS Releases New Website, STATcompiler

The new MEASURE DHS website (www.measuredhs.com) and STATcompiler (www.statcompiler.com) were launched today, introducing the global community to new ways of visualizing Demographic and Health Surveys data. New features of the website include an interactive map of countries and surveys, an enhanced publications library, and more information on survey methodology.  The new, more user-friendly STATcompiler features customized tables, as well as charts, maps, and scatter plots.

STATcompiler has always allowed users to create custom tables, comparing survey results across countries and over time. Now users can visualize these data through interactive column charts, line graphs, maps, and scatter plots.  Users can select indicators and countries of interest, add background characteristics such as age, education, and wealth, and instantly see in a chart what is hard to discern in a table. These images are exportable for use in papers and presentations.  Data tables have also been enhanced, allowing users to sort data and customize their view.

The MEASURE DHS web tools allow for the sharing of Demographic and Health Surveys data from 90 countries and over 260 surveys.  Data are made available through free publications, datasets, and online data visualization tools. The website also provides background information on the survey process and methodology, contextual information on health and demographic topics, and summary data on countries and topics of interest.

Blue Raster collaborated with ICF Macro to build this application using ArcGIS Server, Flex API, ColdFusion, and CommonSpot.  The MEASURE Demographic and Health Surveys Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

UDS Mapper

Blue Raster is proud to have contributed to the development of the UDS Mapper for HRSA, (Health Resources and Services Administration) part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  This web mapping application is developed using Adobe Flex and ESRI ArcGIS Server and is deployed on the Amazon Cloud (EC2).  Its assists with the decision-making process regarding grants for Section-330 federally-funded community health centers.  The UDS Mapper provides information previously unavailable to the public at the local level by allowing analysis of under-served populations across a dozen themes.   HealthLandscape, Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati and the American Academy of Family Physicians are among the partners in this multi-year project.
UDS Mapper


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