On Track: Health Care, Patient Data, and Provider Performance

Biometric tracking increased the likelihood that patients adhered to recommended tuberculosis treatment, improved health worker attendance, and reduced misreporting of patient data by health workers.

Key results:

  • Biometric tracking increased patient adherence to TB treatment and the World Health Organization’s DOTS protocol. Patients that received treatment in a center with biometric monitoring were 1.8 percentage points (25 percent) less likely to interrupt treatment and were 13.9 percentage points (26 percent) more likely to consume medication in person.
  • Greater health worker effort was a major factor in increased adherence to TB treatment. Tracking of health worker performance increased the time providers spent at health centers by about 19 percent and frequency of home visits to patients by 32 percent. There was no evidence that health workers strategically avoided patients with a perceived higher risk of defaulting or reduced patient detection efforts.
  • Biometric devices improved the accuracy of NGO health records and official government health registers. The devices reduced overreporting of new cases by 20 percent and underreporting of treatment interruptions by 25 percent.