Tag Archives: proactive help desk

A Fresh Idea from Baobab Health: The Proactive Help Desk

I had the opportunity to meet with Mike McKay, the former country director for Baobab Health (www.baobabhealth.org) in Malawi. Mike built a team of Malawian software developers from the ground up to design a touch-screen patient registration system used in HIV clinics. The system is so intuitive that a janitor, who overlooked as a team of nurses was being trained to use the system, took over during the nurses’ lunch break and has since become a full-time patient registration clerk. He has now personally registered several hundred thousand patient visits. Take a look at this 1-min video to see the system in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf49zRxhKhc.

One of the processes that Baobab uses to support sites after implementing the Baobab system is the “Proactive Help Desk,” in which the help desk calls each site at least once per week to ask if they have any questions, are any systems not functioning, or any problems. They do this in addition to being available for normal help desk requests.

This incredibly simple idea of the Proactive Help Desk is one of the most obvious ways I’ve heard of to create a useful feedback loop between system administrators and users, yet I’ve never heard of it before!┬áBy giving their users the opportunity to provide weekly feedback on the Baobab system, on the workflows, and on their particular context, they dramatically improve their ability to support users and to iterate the system and related processes to addresses immediate user needs.