Options for Children in Zambia, a non-profit organization, partners with rural African communities to develop sustainable oral health initiatives and enhance quality of life. They work with local, provincial and national government agencies and non-government organizations to ensure their projects align with overarching community development goals.
As part of their annual oral health project in Zambia, Options entered dental screening information on paper. In order for the information to be valuable for program assessment, the data from the screening forms required entry into a database. The screening forms were filled out by hand and contained dental terminology, so accuracy was critical. Furthermore, due to regulations in the United States and Zambia, such as HIPAA compliance, the data needed to be anonymized and secured to assure confidentiality.
In the past, volunteers were tasked to transfer the information into the database. This required specialized training and a time commitment from their busy schedules with limited staff on hand. As a result, little time was left to analyze the results. As a non-profit, Options needed to find a cost-effective solution to manage the data efficiently to assess the impact of their efforts.
“We rely on limited funding, so we have to spend our money carefully. Impact Enterprises allowed us to be more time efficient while meeting our financial criteria.”
-Kerry Maguire, DDS, MSPH Co-Founder & Chair
Impact Enterprises management held several meetings and calls with the Options team to fully understand the data collected and the procedures to be followed. Impact Enterprise is HIPAA compliant and was therefore able to advise Options how to bifurcate the database to protect the confidential data.
Working with the Options data engineer, a procedure was established that allowed for the surveys to be scanned, uploaded, and distributed to the Data Specialists for efficient and secure inputting. All data was double entered and discrepancies were rechecked to ensure proper entry. Throughout the process, Impact Enterprises’ management provided questions and feedback to Options so that mistakes were eliminated.
“Meeting the confidentiality requirements, including HIPAA, was necessary in order for us to outsource this work, so it was great that Impact was prepared for this extra step in the data procedure.”
Over the course of two weeks, our team was able to input and check data from over 750 screening forms across over 60 data points. Our advice on the dataset allowed Options to improve the screening form and procedures so that future collection is clearer and richer.
The Impact Data Specialists were given a unique challenge throughout the project. The team gained hands-on experience handling large amounts of data and managing several database tools. Working with new terminology required them to think critically and collaborate to work effectively.
“This was an important step to assess the impact of the services Options is providing.”