Nation is waiting for you and your innovation.
Despite many challenges, Bangladesh has made considerable progress over the last two decades in improving the health status of the citizen. Population health outcomes have shown marked improvement, with falls in maternal, infant and under-five mortality rates. There are significant reductions in total fertility rate, high levels of immunization have been achieved and life expectancy is increasing.
These improvements in health sector can be attributed to a number of health and non-health related factors such as delivery in a health facility, childhood immunization, management of diarrhoea with oral rehydration salts, women’s education, health care-seeking behaviour and improved economic circumstances. However, the persisting inequality, prolonged waiting time and weak referral mechanism is a concern. Poor population from rural, remote and hard to reach areas rarely use high quality health care services and experience higher rates of mortality and morbidity.
Though Bangladesh has made dramatic improvement in health sector, further improvement in health will certainly require innovations. Innovation in health is needed for strengthening the health systems and/or to improve the health outcome. To address health sector issues, a2i in collaboration with DGHS is announcing a request for applications for its small grants program to improve the quality of care and health state of the population. A2i will issue grants of up to 25,00,000 BDT to support the costs of piloting awarded research project.
The present call intends to prioritize the following two challenges:
1. Structured referral system for community health clinic to tertiary level hospital.
2. Medical outdoor patient appointment system using emerging technology to reduce patient waiting time.
Challenge – 1: Structured referral system for community health clinic to tertiary level hospital.
“Patient Referral” to hospitals, specialists and other institutions is an essential part of primary health care (PHC). Patients are referred to specialists when investigation or therapeutic options are exhausted in primary care or when option or advice is needed from them. Competent Referral system has considerable positive impact for patients, health care system and health care costs.
Indication for referral may be routine, urgent or emergency. A linked referral system will further improve the PHC system. An effective referral system ensures a close relationship between all levels of the health system. It helps to ensure the best possible care through a coordinated network of health service delivery among the health facilities and it reduces the risk of the patient. To refer a patient depends on many things including the availability of a health institution with specialist facilities, the quality of care at the referral institution, distance, transportation, communication, and feasibility of travel by the patient. However, the type of complication determines the level of care needed and the place to be referred to, and this makes the referral pathways complex. Linking the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care will play critical role in improving primary health care. A referral system offers some degree of health care at every level of health care system while linking the different levels through an established communication transport system. As the capacity at the primary level of care to deal with complications is limited by the availability of skilled human resources and facilities, so an innovative approaches to functioning referral system is necessary at all level of the health facilities in Bangladesh.
Challenge – 2: Medical outdoor patient appointment system using emerging technology.
Patient waiting time is a long-standing concern in health care. Patients often spend substantial amount of time in the facility waiting for services than actually consulting with health care providers. Shortage of human resources and existing work process are the determinants of patient waiting time in the general outpatient departments in Bangladesh. Very often these delays are detrimental to patients’ health.
Patient waiting time is defined as the total time from registration until consultation with a doctor. During this time, registration, the payment process and record classification are made. Waiting time of the patient is an important indicator of quality of services and patients’ satisfaction towards the health care services.
Patients perceive long waiting times as a barrier to actually obtaining services. Lengthy outpatient waiting time can be a cause of stress for both patient and doctor. Long waiting times also affect the patients economically. It takes up the productive work time from the patient and attendant. The problem of long waiting period remains a common difficulty that can compromise patient satisfaction and quality of health care as a whole. An innovation is essential to reduce patient waiting time to an acceptable level.
The prize will be awarded to the successful applicants at the end of the contest. A jury formed by competent renowned figures will select the best solution from the application pool. The Jury will select the solution that demonstrates cumulative criteria for “Efficiency”, “Reliability” and “Innovative Design”. Some important criteria are mentioned below but they are not limited to these only:
1. Can I participate individually in this challenge fund?
– No, as per rules a Team has to participate.
2. Who will bear the prototype development cost?
– a2i is awarding the money for the development of prototype. –
3. If I meet the challenge exactly when will I be awarded?
– After completing the full-selection process, the winner shall be contacted by a2i.
4. Is a mentor or adviser for a team mandatory?
– Yes, a mentor or advisor to the Team is mandatory, and he/she will be a member of the team.
5. Will there be any certificates for all members of team?
– Yes, Individual members of the awarded team will get separate certificate.
6. If I make the challenge or get the award, what is next?
– Prepare and present working prototype within proposed timeframe.
7. Will there be any workshop or grooming session?
– Yes, there will be any grooming sessions for the short listed teams.
8. How will I know that if I am in the short-list?
– A notification will be sent to each members of the short-listed teams.
9. Is there any TA/DA included for the team members?
– Yes, short-listed participants will get TA/DA as per a2i policy.
10. Is there any age limit for participating in the challenge fund?
– No, there is no age-restrictions for participation.
11. Does the software part has to be a standalone application, or can it be a web app, hosted by the participants?
– This will depend at the discretion of the participants/teams.
12. Can my presentation contents have videos?
– Yes. A short descriptive video is preferred.
13. Does the prototype need to be fully-functional work grade?
– Not necessarily.
14. Do I have to estimate a prototyping cost as well as piloting cost?
– Yes. Relevant budget & cost analysis is preferred.