Developing Health Management Information Systems
The basic concepts
System: A collection of components that work together to achieve a common objective. Information System: A system that provides information support to the decision-making process at each level of an organization Health Information System: A system that integrates data collection, processing, reporting, and use of the information necessary for improving health service effectiveness and efficiency through better management at all levels of health services Health Management Information System: An information system specially designed to assist in the management and planning of health programs, as opposed to delivery of care HMIS: Health management information system
Steps in Developing a Health Management Information System
(1) Review the existing system
(2) Define the data needs of relevant units within the health system (3) Determine the most appropriate and effective data flow
(4) Design the data collection and reporting tools
(5) Develop the procedures and mechanisms for data processing (6) Develop and implement a training program for data providers and data users (7) Pre-test, and if necessary, redesign the system for data collection, data flow, data processing and data utilization (8) Monitor and evaluate the system
(9) Develop effective data dissemination and feedback mechanisms (10) Enhance the HMIS
1. REVIEWING THE EXISTING SYSTEM
Do not destroy existing systems; build on the strengths and learn from the weaknesses of what already exists.
(1) Make an inventory of the forms, log books and other tools used to record and summarize data at different levels. (2) Assess the quality of the data being collected using the existing forms at different levels. Among the aspects to be included in the assessment are: ▪ Accuracy
(3) Determine the problems encountered with the current system of data collection at different levels, including the timing and flow of information. (4) Determine the current status of the other components of the HMIS like: ▪ Data processing
▪ Data analysis
▪ Data dissemination
▪ Supply and logistics
▪ Staff development
▪ Coordination, cooperation and communication within and between different units in the Ministry of Health, as well as with related agencies outside of the ministry (5) Identify the aspects of the system that need to be:
(6) Summarize the results of the assessment in a formal report. (7) Discuss results of the assessment with proper authorities.
(1) Who has the authority to make the assessment?
(2) Availability of technical expertise and resources to do the assessment. (3) Cooperation among the different units in the assessment process; involvement of end-users at all levels. (4) Formation of a body (ideally an inter-departmental committee) tasked with planning, monitoring and managing all phases of the development of the HMIS, from the baseline assessment to the evaluation phase.
2. DEFINING DATA NEEDS
Different administrative levels in the health system have different roles, and therefore have different data needs. Not all data needs should be generated through the routine system of data collection. Data that are not frequently needed or are required only for certain subsets of the population can be generated through special studies and sample surveys.
(1) Define the different roles/functions of each level, for each of the major programs. (2) Identify the indicators needed by each level to perform its functions. Note that some levels, especially at higher administrative levels, need...