Tasks for online users

Documentation clearly states that Tasks are only available to users of type restricted to their place, which are offline users.

Release 3.8 included some significant Task (and Target) features. I just want to confirm that even with the new features, it’s still not possible for Online users to have Tasks.

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Hello @michael. That is correct! The task and target system is designed for offline-first users who may go many weeks without access to a server. Therefore, tasks and targets are calculated directly on the device from the documents that are available locally. Online users just don’t fit this architecture well (even after the re-design). Since their data is unscoped, having them caculate tasks/targets the same way has intense bandwidth requirements which is deemed prohibitive. So we’ve just turned it off… It is unclear if online users will ever have tasks/targets until we understand clear scenarios to support for them.

One feature we have talked about is enabling online users to “browser” the tasks that are visible to other users. Or to view the targets which are displayed on other users devices. This would be fairly easy to implement, but it’s value is unclear.


In a recent conversation with Partners In Health - Malawi, online tasks took center stage.


From a review of CHT and OpenMRS integration, it became clear that a point for reports verification was necessary. The proposal was as follows:

  1. When reports for clients with missed appointments are received in the CHT (Yendanafe), site supervisors (online users) should be able to access them and verify each because some patients might have not missed appointments, but their visit details were not captured into the EMR (retrospective rather than point of care).
  2. In order for the site supervisors to effectively verify, tasks would do great so that none from the missed appointments list is skipped.
  3. Verification in this context means submitting a report that confirms that either a client visited or did not visit a health facility when their appointment was due.

Options considered

  1. Site supervisors to search clients on the missed appointment list in Yendanafe and verify one after another.

    • The list is usually long, sometimes getting to 100+ clients. The likelihood of missing at least one when physically searching and submitting reports is high, let along being tedious.
    • In addition to that, a search is not guaranteed to produce a single result, which means that the time spent getting a specific client and the likelihood of submitting a report for a wrong client increases.
  2. Generate one big report mapping to the missed appointment list

    • This is complicated and not supported currently.
  3. Download the report above to xlsx, update and upload to Yendanafe

    • This is also complicated. Filtering reports for only patients appearing in the missed appointment list is not supported.
  4. Verification to be processed outside Yendanafe

    • The initial plan was to get verified reports only in the CHT from the EMR. However, given the retrospective data entry nature of the EMR, the turnaround time would be high resulting in regression.
    • Another approach was to present a custom user interface for the verification process. This would introduce other costs of building, training and maintenance.

Value Addition

The biggest value-add is the efficiency achieved by simply triggering tasks for the site supervisors, opening up to targeted care.

cc @michael @kenn


Just adding voice to the online tasks discussion related to the Partners In Health convo above. We hit a blocker whereby the workaround we had proposed to handle reports verification was overruled because it was changing the protocol. The offline role that accesses tasks cannot be used for verification while the online role that does verification - according to protocol - cannot access tasks. Among other factors, we had to put on hold the eTrace workflow.

What if online tasks were supported?

cc @simon @philip @Mercy_Amulele @Jenny

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Thanks @kitsao! Can you share why the offline role does not work in this context? I’d really like to understand more about how projects are using online roles.

Hey @michael the role should not be used for verification, according to Ministry of Health guidelines and the partner is keen to align to the policy. The role that should do verification is online, as per the requirements of the partner.