CommCare Fundamentals - CommCare Overview


Welcome to CommCare Fundamentals! If you are new to CommCare, this is a great place to start!

CommCare Fundamentals will provide you with a complete orientation to the basic concepts and terminology of CommCare. By the end of this course, you will be able to explain:




        • CommCare's basic structure

        • Cases and case management

        • General principles of data in CommCare

        • CommCare user types

        • CommCare implementation process

Once you've completed this course, you can easily go on to other courses like Form Builder, Application Building, Appliciation Design, Worker Monitoring, and CommCare Data Basics, among others.


Learning Objectives

By this end of this unit, you will be able to:  

  • Provide a general description of CommCare 

  • Explain the distinction between CommCare Mobile and CommCare HQ 

  • List the types of mobile devices that run CommCare 

  • Describe some of the ways in which CommCare can be used 

  • Identify the company that builds CommCare  

  • Identify key CommCare Community resources and support

What is CommCare?

CommCare is an easily customizable, open source mobile platform that supports frontline workers in low-resource communities. Frontline workers use CommCare to track and support clients, facilities, transactions, or anything else that needs to be followed over time. It is also a software tool which allows you to create, edit, and deploy mobile applications without a software developer. 

CommCare consists of two components: 

  • CommCare Mobile is the mobile-based portion of CommCare used for data collection and service delivery. CommCare Mobile can be used on a phone or tablet and, in rare instances, through a computer. Through CommCare Mobile, a worker is able to access a mobile application. Typical users of CommCare Mobile, include: field workers, community health workers, agricultural extension agents, school inspectors, or surveyors. 

  • CommCare HQ is the website ( used for application management and reporting. Through the CommCare HQ website, users can design applications, access data, and manage mobile workers. CommCare HQ receives the data submitted by frontline workers using CommCare Mobile. CommCare HQ users are typically supervisors, researchers, project managers, or data analysts.

Which Mobile Devices Run CommCare?

     CommCare runs as a mobile-based application on two types of devices:



      • Android smartphones 

      • Basic feature phones (like Nokia phones; complete list here

How is CommCare Used?

CommCare can be used for a number of purposes, including: 



      • Data collection - a tool for mobile users to directly digitize information so that it can be accessed via a computer

      • Decision support - supports complex logic that can guide a user to asking the right questions and providing appropriate advice

      • Job aid - CommCare can help users to prioritize tasks, remind users to make visits, and do complex calculations

      • Counseling tool - with embedded multimedia like images, audio, and video, CommCare can enhance the counseling experience

      • Better supervision - data on worker activity can be used to inform supportive supervision







Although CommCare was initially developed as a case management tool for Community Health Workers, it is now used in many different areas, including clinics, agriculture extension, microfinance, education, and research.


How Does CommCare Work?

Here is a brief overview:


CommCare is developed by a software company called Dimagi:

 CommCare is developed by a software company called Dimagi. CommCare is Dimagi's biggest and most well-known product, but the company also develops other mobile-based, open source technologies. Dimagi's mission is to deliver open and innovative technology to help underserved communities everywhere.

What does it mean that CommCare is "open source"?

Great question! We get this question a lot - and we're happy to answer it because having open source products is an important part of our values as a company. 

When we say the CommCare software is "open source," we mean that the source code is openly available on the Internet to be downloaded, modified, or distributed. Details about how to access the source code are here. It's important to note that it is not easy to set up and run the software on a local server, which is why we strongly recommend using the CommCare HQ server. The open nature of the code makes it easier to integrate with other systems and explore the way that CommCare functions. you can learn more about CommCare's open source practices here.

CommCare Community of Users

CommCare is used by thousands of people all around the world. To assist users, we have developed several resources through which you can learn more about CommCare and participate in the community of users!

  •  CommCare Help Site: You can get a good overview of what CommCare is by reading through the CommCare Help Site. The Help Site is maintained by Dimagi staff and some CommCare users. It has material on everything from building applications to project implementation, and even data analysis. 

  • CommCare Forum: CommCare users globally are connected through Dimagi's CommCare Forum. When you join the CommCare Forum, you can ask questions, get questions answered, and learn from the experiences of others. 

Other resources and support can be found here.


In the next section you will learn more details about the structure of CommCare. 

Go to the next section.