Crowdsourcing: The New Buzz in Productivity and Quality

Laura WurtsCapacityPlus is developing a crowdsourcing application and exploring pilot sites in several countries. This initiative will allow the general public with any mobile telephone—with simple SMS texting capability—to report on the presence or absence of health workers, patient waiting times, or other selected quality or productivity indicators at any given clinic at any point in time.

Unless health workers report to their assigned facilities at the agreed upon hours and efficiently manage their time, increasing the production of qualified health workers is meaningless.

However, a relatively easy method for improving health worker productivity is through crowdsourcing.

How it works
Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated person, such as a supervisor, and outsourcing it to a large, undefined group of people. In this case crowdsourcing would allow patients who visit a health clinic to report on the presence or absence of a health worker, as well as report on patient waiting times or other selected productivity or quality indicators.

In addition, community members considering visiting a clinic can check to see if a provider has recently been reported as being present, thus avoiding unnecessary travel to an unstaffed facility.


  • Health workers can become more self-aware and accountable for their own productivity, performance, and the quality measures within their control.
  • Patients and communities are empowered to play an active role in their health care.
  • Decision-makers can easily and cheaply access data on workforce absenteeism and quality service through visual and interactive maps.
  • Utilizing crowdsourcing as a key component of tracking health workers provides deeper insight into the true population of active health workers.
  • The Open Source platform of the crowdsourcing application allows for endless customization to suit the needs of a given country.

Mobile applications
In the next few months, CapacityPlus will also explore a companion application for health workers to self-report their schedule (akin to a mobile clock-in/clock-out timesheet) and any quality issues they may have experienced.


Photo by Jennifer Gloc