Allocation of healthcare interns and community service applicants in South Africa is a massive, bi-annual undertaking. Previously, this laborious process was managed through a paper-based system. HISP-SA set out to assist the NDoH to achieve better distribution of these human resources for health to underserved areas. We developed and supported the implementation of a unique, custom-built system to match applications from health science graduates to available posts across the country. An advanced algorithm was designed to take into consideration personal circumstances such as pregnancy and health concerns of applicants, nationality, post preferences and bursary obligations.
The custom front-end forms follow a complex workflow as applicants progress through each stage in the process – user registration and confirmation, application, allocation, placement exchanges, appeals and confirmation of allocation. A particularly interesting feature in this system is the exchange process, in which applicants can swap their placement allocations with each other in groups of up to 5 on the system. These changes would reflect immediately after accepting and confirming an exchange.
The system also includes user interfaces for other stakeholders, such and provincial managers to load posts and review which posts have been allocated to applicants; and bursary authorities to load and confirm bursary details of applicants.
Data is presented on a number of dashboards for operational and management purposes. These are made available on the user facing apps, a public information site and through our user support call centre. Since the implementation of the system in 2017, the NDoH and Provincial Departments of Health have managed to improve the timeliness of the allocation process and ensure fair and transparent distribution of resources to improve access to primary health care services. More details on this project can be found here.
- Fair and transparent allocation process, taking into account application preferences (where they may be accommodated) via a logical algorithm
- Electronic exchange process for applicants to swap allocations as preferred with one another
- Over 10 000 applicants allocated for internship and community service annually
- Allocation of all provincial bursary holders back into the province as per their bursary requirements
- Real-time oversight of the application and allocation process for National and Provincial managers