IeDA, the four letters that are revolutionising the medical treatment of children in West Africa
IeDA, is the acronym for Integrated e-Diagnostic Approach, an innovative approach using digital tablets and special online software to improve the medical treatment provided to children.
This pioneering approach was designed and developed by Terre des hommes (Tdh). IeDA uses an electronic form to guide nurses diagnosing children and then records the medical data using the software. By automating these key tasks the margin for error is reduced and the quality of the diagnosis and treatment is improved.
Adoption and effectiveness of the tool
In 2011, Tdh started equipping the first health centres in two health districts in Burkina Faso. The tool began as a simple electronic register of consultations (the REC – registre électronique des consultations). The software was then transferred to digital tablets and performance was considerably improved.
A study carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the impact of IeDA reveals that medical staff are generally happy with the tool and acknowledge its effectiveness. “If you have a patient you saw a very long time ago, you can look back through their file and see what you prescribed. It enables traceability, which is very important,” reported a health worker who uses the software.
IeDA is easy to understand, user-friendly and has been adopted by more than 1,000 nurses in 200 health centres in Burkina Faso. Since 2014, more than 400,000 consultations have been recorded using the tool.
This month, the project team is preparing to deploy the tool in the district of Ouahigouya and will equip 69 new health centres. This will be the largest deployment since the project began.
“It’s a big logistical challenge, but the experience we’ve gained means we’re well prepared. The deployment will be staggered over several weeks during which over one hundred health workers will be trained. As with the other districts, this will be a quantum leap for the health centres; both for health workers who will have a support tool to help them with diagnoses as well as an electronic patient file, but also for patients – the children – who will benefit from a more accurate diagnosis and thus better treatment,” explains Guillaume Foutry, IeDA project manager in Burkina Faso.
Recognised innovation in the field of telemedicine
Tdh took part in the Geneva Health Forum (GHF), which brought together a number of global health players. The sixth forum, held last April, focused on sustainable and affordable innovations in healthcare.
The IeDA project team demonstrated the tool and its multiple possibilities in the CICG international exhibition hall and at a workshop entitled “Innovating to improve support of remote healthcare professionals”.