Closing the Feedback Loop: A 12 Month Evaluation of ASTA, a Self-tracking Application for ASHAs

DeRenzi, Brian and Wacksman, Jeremy and Dell, Nicola and Lee, Scott and Lesh, Neal and Borriello, Gaetano and Ellner, Andrew (2016) Closing the Feedback Loop: A 12 Month Evaluation of ASTA, a Self-tracking Application for ASHAs, Proceedings of ICTD 2016, 3-6 June 2016, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

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Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) have been shown to have a positive impact on health outcomes of the households they visit, particularly in maternal and neonatal health. As the first line of the public health system in many countries, they are a critical link to the broader public health infrastructure for community members. Yet they do this all with minimal training and limited support infrastructure. To a pregnant woman, an ASHA is a trusted ally in navigating the health system---information gathered is returned by appropriate advice and counseling. To the health system, the ASHA is a key channel of valuable householdlevel information for the public health system, yet she generally receives minimal guidance in return. In this paper we present ASTA---the ASHA Self-Tracking Application---a system that provides ASHAs with timely, on-demand information regarding their own performance compared to their peers. Using ASTA, ASHAs access comparative performance data through both a web-based and voice-based interface on demand. We evaluated ASTA through a 12-month deployment with 142 ASHAs in Uttar Pradesh, India, assessing the impact of providing feedback on ASHA performance. We find that ASHAs with access to the ASTA system made significantly more client visits, with average monthly visits 21.5% higher than ASHAs who had access to a control system. In addition, higher ASHA performance was correlated with increased usage of ASTA. However, the performance improvement was front-loaded, with the impact of the system decreasing toward the end of the study period. Taken together, our findings provide promising evidence that studying and incorporating tools like ASTA could be cost effective and impactful for ASHA programs.

Item Type: Conference paper
Subjects: Information systems
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Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2016
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:32

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