When I arrived in the village of Ruhiira, Uganda in 2009, one of the pivotal people I met was Emmanuel Atuhairwe. “Dr. Emma,” who signs his emails “village doctor,” was one of a handful of doctors making rounds across six clinics, covering a population of more than 100,000. He was part of a concerted international effort in Ruhiira to jumpstart economic development.
In 2009 to 2010, I helped the UN Development Program set up data collection for community health workers, verbal autopsies and patient visits at the village. The program employed a team of six data entry clerks, who meticulously typed all the relevant data into a solar-powered electronic medical record system (EMR). The international development researchers used this system to measure success of their interventions, but did not set up clinicians like Dr. Emma to use it.
I quickly realized that if Dr. Emma had faster access to these records, it would make his job easier and help him save lives—an incredible opportunity for data to take action.
In my spare time, I created an application that siphoned data from the EMR into Excel and spent a few afternoons teaching Dr. Emma to create Pivot Tables, enabling him to track simple trends such as health worker performance or the number of births happening at home (which are much more dangerous than births at the clinic).
Soon, he started tracking me down for more tutorials, which then turned into requests for more features. Armed with these metrics, Dr. Emma became a much more effective manager and advocate for improving the lot in his village. His new reports kickstarted timely conversations about upticks in malaria diagnoses, and who on his staff was slacking off. Using the data also increased his concern for its accurate and timely collection—creating a virtuous cycle in improving data quality.
I founded Captricity to arm the Dr. Emmas of the world with data.
So many organizations in both the public and private sectors are fighting expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective paper processes and the resulting backlogs while struggling to make better use of their customer data. My dream is for organizations to forget how they access their data, like they forget about how electricity or Internet connectivity arrives at their office—always on, pay-for consumption.
We will continue to pursue our mission to drive the world forward by giving everyone fast and easy access to high-quality data—no matter what form it comes in.
-Kuang Chen, Founder, CEO