This project will expand the functionality of Tamanu, our patient-level electronic medical record, to address the healthcare needs of expectant mothers in line with the World Health Organization’s Digital Adaption Kit focused on Antenatal Care. BES designed Tamanu and has led its successful implementation in Fiji, Samoa, and Nauru, alongside other digital health solutions we have delivered across more than 12 countries in Asia, Africa, and the Pacific region.
Tamanu is a fit-for-purpose patient-level electronic medical record (EMR) designed to address the distinct healthcare challenges of the Pacific. Tamanu is offline-first across both desktop and mobile, accounting for slow or intermittent internet connections by working offline and syncing when internet becomes available; it is also free and open-source, ensuring that countries are not burdened by high ongoing costs or tied to any single implementation vendor. Tamanu is ONC certified and is an existing approved Digital Square Global Good.
This investment will go towards the development of Tamanu to support healthcare workers in the care of expectant mothers, in line with the World Health Organization’s Digital Adaption Kit focused on Antenatal Care. Our team will create a workflow in Tamanu specifically to support digital tracking and decision support for health workers during antenatal care. The WHO DAK will help to determine the content requirements in a way that is consistent with international health standards. Our goal is to ensure that patients in the Pacific receive consistent and international-standard healthcare from birth to death and the inclusion of antenatal care services in Tamanu will help us to reach this goal. This project will expand the functionality of Tamanu in Nauru, Fiji, Samoa, and Palau where full-scale implementations of Tamanu are currently taking place and available in all future implementations of the software elsewhere in the world. These countries provide immediate opportunities for deployment.
BES designed Tamanu and has led its successful implementation in Fiji, Samoa, and Nauru. We have implemented other digital health solutions in more than 12 countries across Asia, Africa, and the Pacific region, seeking always to promote an entirely integrated and open-source ecosystem. We are consistently working to expand the services available within Tamanu to ensure it functions as a comprehensive birth-to-death EMR, and the development of an antenatal care is a vital next step. This project will be supported by our team of experts in public health, health information systems, and software development.
Beyond Essential Systems is a medium-sized Australian company that creates and implements innovative software solutions for low-resource settings in the Asia-Pacific. They have managed large projects on behalf of partners including the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Food Program, Save The Children International, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO. Our full-time staff of 40 includes specialists in public health, procurement, clinical services, project accounting, geospatial epidemiology and a full-time software development team of 22. Our team works across offices in Melbourne and Auckland, with project offices in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
In 2022, Tamanu will be implemented at scale across all levels of health care in Nauru, Fiji, Palau and Samoa. Within the scope of each of these projects is the implementation of Tamanu for use by maternal and child health workers.
Quality care is essential for improving maternal and newborn health. Indo-Pacific low- and middle-income countries in particular experience a significant burden of preventable maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality and face considerable challenges in optimising the quality of care for mothers and newborns.
While our Tamanu project managers will work with each country project team to align system design with their existing ANC protocols, the Digital Square grant provides a timely opportunity to ensure that the Tamanu ANC workflow is following an established standard of care and can offer a reference point for informing ANC content. Adopting an established standard of care will also ensure that ANC clinical teams can effectively benefit from the implementation of Tamanu.
Existing Tamanu functionality including a flexible programs module, configurable clinical decision support, patient tracking features, care plans and reporting suite will be adapted to align with the Digital Adaptation Kit for Antenatal Care to create the Tamanu Antenatal Care Module. This ties in with our philosophy of supporting multiple use cases inside a single EMR, instead of implementing specific, siloed applications for each vertical program or process.
Through the adaptation of existing Tamanu functionality, health workers will be able to use Tamanu to maintain a comprehensive and persistent patient-level record including health events and encounters that can be digitally tracked. The incorporation of clinical-decision support, and patient line list and summary reports, will help to reinforce good practice and accountability.
The development of a Tamanu Antenatal Care Module means that countries will be expending resources more efficiently, it will save on training and deployment costs and its alignment with WHO guidelines will ensure the module is scalable to future implementations.
The following objectives will be met:
- Design and development of ANC workflows in alignment with the DAK business processes, including configuration of the core ANC data elements
- Configuration of clinical decision support in alignment with DAK
- Creation of data dictionary about each ANC data element containing their definitions, relationships, origin, usage and data type
- Generation of reporting suite in alignment with key indicator and performance metrics
The following work will be delivered:
- Demonstration of the Tamanu ANC workflow referencing the DAK
- Demonstration of ANC reports
- Published data dictionary demonstrating use of the core antenatal care data elements
- Training materials made freely available online (including manuals, training videos and webinar)
February-April 2022: Design and development of ANC workflows, Creation of data dictionary
May 2022: Generation of ANC reports
June 2022: Development of training materials
Software solutions change rapidly, and new technologies are constantly emerging to support better healthcare outcomes. As a result, there is an inherent risk that the proposed software, Tamanu, becomes obsolete or no longer supported.
This funding support would augment existing funding streams from World Bank, Palladium International, Aspen Medical and DFAT, so we would be using to provide this supplemental activity rather than as core funding.
The work will be completed as part of 4 contracted and planned implementations in 2022 so we should be able to demonstrate rapid scalability and adapt our model with an agile methodology and knowledge feedback loops from the field.
Data breaches are a major risk to any digital health project and are taken very seriously. All data in Tamanu is encrypted at rest and in transit. Access to data within Tamanu is password-controlled. The ability to view and download data is restricted to specific user groups.
Clinical Adoption/Change Management
Clinical adoption is a primary risk in the implementation of any EMR, with clinician resistance and technical literacy frequently observed as key barriers. To mitigate this risk, we have developed detailed training and user manuals, as well as change management processes to ensure that adoption is maximised.