It is hard to be a good supervisor. Perhaps that is why supervision is so often not done well. Or not done at all. Lack of funds for travel, lack of information about what is actually happening in the field and lack of time due to conflicting demands and multiple responsibilities all make good supervision the exception rather than the rule in most health systems. We cannot realistically expect that the traditional model of supportive supervision with frequent field visits and lengthy discussions of how the supervisor can support the health worker will become a reality. Fortunately there is an alternative.
D-tree International has developed supervisory dashboards that allow supervisors at-a-glance to see what is happening in the field, bringing problems that arise to the supervisor’s attention. Real time reporting on numbers and types of patients being seen, drugs being dispensed and any stock-outs of essential drugs, and whether referrals are being made are among the types of indicators that can be easily tracked by supervisors. Reports are customized for the level of supervisor (facility, district, region, national) with easy to view interfaces available on phones, tablets or computers. While face to face supervision is the ideal, the ability to schedule telephone supervisory sessions based on current and accurate data provides many of the benefits of face to face to supervision at a fraction of the cost.