Every day we use digital tools to achieve different tasks – checking social media, ordering an uber, tracking our fitness… and these days, we just expect those tools to integrate with each other when we want them to. When we order Uber Eats or Deliveroo, we use a single app to place an order with a restaurant, coordinate a delivery driver and make a payment. Separate technologies in the background allows us to track the driver as they approach our house or add a tip to the order so that we don’t have to think about it. Imagine trying to do each of these tasks separately – it’d be easier to just eat out each night!

This is the current experience for healthcare workers in many countries like Palau, who often are forced to work across siloed technology to manage their health systems. Whilst they often have great individual systems for specific tasks, coordinating them is difficult. Regardless of these worker’s skills and capabilities, this spread-out structure causes avoidable inefficiencies.

Recent health crises, most obviously COVID-19, have highlighted the importance of maintaining efficient, functional and integrated eHealth systems to support health workers and improve health systems. This is why Beyond Essential Systems are excited to announce our partnership with the Palau Ministry of Health to help redesign their health information systems. Together, we will combine four key platforms under a single, fully integrated eHealth ecosystem. In doing so, we will be streamlining and optimising the capture of public health information, facility monitoring, disease surveillance and the distribution of essential medical supplies. We are excited about the opportunity to make a lasting, positive impact on the lives of everyday citizens, as well as health workers and decision makers.

Palau’s new system will combine DHIS2, mSupply, Tupaia MediTrak and the Tupaia platform. One of our key focuses will be ensuring information is automatically shared between these platforms, reducing double ups and miscommunications and allowing for efficient, real-time decision making. This focus on software will be combined with a focus on people, as we recognise that the individuals who work with these systems will be the real driving force for change. Through a variety of strategies, including long-term staff development and improved data governance mechanisms, we aim to ensure we build a system that works for users and supports the specific needs of communities in Palau.

We are particularly excited to work with software developers within the Palau Ministry of Health, who will be able to take advantage of the open-source architecture across the systems we are implementing.

Our passionate team are looking forward to sharing our experiences in this area – but we will definitely learn even more ourselves. Palau has a rich history and unique culture and we look forward to getting to know both, working alongside local partners to deliver a useful, effective solution to an important problem.