How Data Improves Health Outcomes

By Wycliffe Waweru, Deputy Director, Monitoring, PSI Global, Judy Mwangi, Regional Monitoring Advisor – Eastern Africa, PSI Global

Real-time, digital data collection allows us to gather insights faster to serve consumers better.

PSI uses this data, collected across the digital platforms that we engage with consumers, to provide consumers with personalized health information and connect them with health products and services within the health system. Using tis data allows us to:

  • Use consumer’s demographic information and geographic area to target messaging that is relevant to them.
  • Compare consumer engagement with different digital campaigns to determine which messages resonated better with them.
  • Determine if we are reaching consumers in a cost-efficient manner.
  • Measure behavioral outcomes using online measurement tools such as brand lift studies that help us gather data faster and cheaper than when using traditional research tools.

Here’s what this looks like in practice.

Using geospatial data to target messaging

In Uganda, we undertook a social media social behavior change and communications (SBCC) campaign in partnership with Johns & Johnson and Meta to address the low uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine. We used geospatial data (from Fraym) that segmented consumers based on their likelihood to take up the COVID vaccine and their reasons for vaccine hesitancy. The data allowed us to target specific messaging (ads) through social media to the individual segments based on their locality (where they live) and their demographic information. This approach, lead to an increased uptake of the targeted vaccine messages as indicated by the increased engagement rate (from 8 percent to 25 percent) with the messaging when compared to engagement before utilizing the geospatial data.

Drop-off analyses strengthen solutions

The Delivering Innovation in Self-care project (DISC) in Nigeria and Uganda uses a consumer-facing chatbot to support women through their contraception self-inject journey. Consumers needed to provide registration information before engaging with the bot. The DISC program team conducted a drop-off analysis of consumer engagement with the chatbot and noticed the biggest drop-off was the registration step. They made changes to optimize the registration process by reducing the number of registration steps (from eight steps to 1 step focused on informed consent to collect demographic data!) and shortening the introductory message. This optimization led to an increase in the number of users completing registration from 22 percent to 51 percent.


The impact of consumer data collection goes beyond health education and service provision. PSI and our partners aim to improve the national capacity for timely and effective detection of, and response to, high priority infectious diseases. We aim to improve national governments’ long-term capacity to monitor and respond to disease outbreaks. In parts of Southeast Asia, surveillance data from private sector providers was not routinely collected, hindering the development of a comprehensive national disease surveillance system.

PSI designed user-friendly disease notification chatbots for instant disease surveillance and response in Laos and Myanmar. These chatbots are customized with automated alerts to local health authorities via email and SMS while data are synced with the national health information system, DHIS2. This has improved disease surveillance and response by providing comprehensive and timely data on key notifiable diseases and symptoms to enable rapid detection of potential outbreaks.

Looking Ahead

When our consumers engage with our digital tools, such as chatbots, we collect data about them and the interactions they have on every step along that journey. PSI is committed to ensuring that consumer personal data is stored securely, managed responsibly, and used legitimately.

While PSI has made progress in using digital data, we are just beginning to uncover the possibilities and promise that digital health tools hold. Moving forward, we aim to improve data sharing between consumers and health service providers, improve targeted support to health workers by health system stewards at scale, and integrate data from multiple touch points in the health system to facilitate health system strengthening.

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