Newsroom & Blog

Nov 2, 2017   |   Blog Post

We Build by Listening: OpenLMIS at TechNet

By Tenly Snow

OpenLMIS Community Manager

OpenLMIS was well-represented at the TechNet-21 Conference including this poster on the new vaccine-specific functionality.

OpenLMIS is a community dedicated to collective impact. We are always learning and listening for new ideas. We organize user-centered design workshops, talk with global leaders, and incorporate best-in-class technologies to meet the needs of global health supply chains. The most recent TechNet-21 Conference provided yet another opportunity to hear more from our partners in the immunization sector.

This conference brought together global leaders to find solutions to pressing immunization supply chain problems – getting vaccines to the right people at the right time, and ensuring vaccines arrive and stay in the right condition. Conference participants presented innovative solutions that address these challenges, and organizations like Gavi and WHO renewed their commitment to the principles of data for management (D4M). The OpenLMIS community was well represented both in presentations and panels, and we listened throughout the conference to ensure that OpenLMIS responds to real needs. Here are just a few of our takeaways:  

Without good digitized data, there is no management

Throughout the conference, participants talked about guidance on interpreting data, predictive analysis, and forecasting – all ways of utilizing data for management of the vaccine supply chain. The essential point here, however, is without digitized data, none of this is possible. Without a reliable electronic system to capture, aggregate, and disseminate data, program managers will continue to struggle with sluggish data availability and potentially limiting the impact of investments in the immunization supply chain.

Strong advocacy helps build a strong system

Despite major advancements, there is still a need for strong advocacy at the country level to raise awareness of the quality and source of data in electronic systems. In some countries, program managers still believe that data from paper-based systems are more reliable than data from an electronic system, or are unclear about the source and content of the data. By advocating and communicating about the type of data available in an electronic system, ministries, partners, and program managers can increase the uptake and effectiveness of data for management.

Data warehousing provides a strong foundation

At the conference, participants talked frequently about predictive analyses – the ability to utilize data to make better decisions and to address obstacles before they become problems. OpenLMIS recognizes that, while there is a strong appetite for predictive analyses, none of it is possible without data being digitized and collected in a systematic way. OpenLMIS is currently exploring this idea of data warehousing to ensure that system users have access to the data they need to evaluate, predict, visualize, and act.

Business as usual isn’t good enough

OpenLMIS thinks outside the box. The initiative is made up of a community of experts who truly listen and who collaborate to build the best product possible, and we are listening to the needs of immunization supply chain managers and investors. This focus on listening is one of the reasons OpenLMIS was selected by audience members as one of the top three most innovative pitches at the TechNet PitchFest. You can watch the OpenLMIS pitch here as well as an additional pitch on the Tanzania VIMS system – a system built on the OpenLMIS platform.

Vidya Sampath celebrating with colleagues after the results of the PitchFest at the TechNet-21 Conference.

OpenLMIS presented at four different events during the conference, touching on some of the key messages of the conference including the need for reliable electronic systems for data collection and management, and the benefits of collective impact. Outside of the PitchFest, OpenLMIS presented vaccine-specific features currently under development, demonstrated the all-new Cold Chain Equipment and Stock Management functionality at an Innovations Cafe, and presented on the Mozambique deployment of OpenLMIS, (SELV), and the Tanzania deployment (VIMS). New partnerships, renewed connections, and a fresh take on old challenges will propel OpenLMIS forward as we continue building version 3 and more robust vaccine functionality.

SAVE THE DATE: Join us for a webinar on November 30, 2017, when OpenLMIS will present the latest software developments for vaccine management. Immunization supply chain stakeholders and anyone interested in learning more about the OpenLMIS community, the vaccine module, and our commitment to incorporating user input and best practices are invited to join. Free and open to the public, webinar details forthcoming. Check openlmis.org or the OpenLMIS wiki for more details.



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