The OHIE Health Management Information System Community (OHIE-HMIS) was organized to lead the development and deployment of open-source technologies to better manage health information in order to promote better health outcomes.
The mission of OHIE-HMIS is to support and further develop standard practices for achieving sustainable interoperability between health management information systems in an efficient and practical manner. Our aim is to make a wide range of information available to empower communities, health workers and decision makers to improve the overall coverage, quality and efficiency of healthcare services.
An OpenHIE HMIS software component should be flexible enough to be meaningfully deployed in the absence of other components, but should be able to interoperate with other OpenHIE components as and where they are deployed.
Our approach is based on free and open source software.
We look for ways to promote the interoperation of HMIS software with other systems where they bring added value to HMIS users. Interoperating with other systems is growing in importance as other systems develop in their ability and usefulness to produce and consume healthcare information.
We are open to new ideas from many countries and cultures, and consult freely and widely with any interested in our mission.
We seek standardization of best practices, and standardization of software interoperation that allows best-of-breed systems to interoperate interchangeably, bringing flexibility and adaptability to the users.
We seek solutions to specific problems that bring configurable solutions to address a wide range of needs.
We seek to match solutions to the needs and resources available, without squandering resources that could best be used in other ways to improve healthcare.
Our vision is that HMIS software can facilitate the collection of data from a variety of information systems and the effective use of information at facility, district and higher levels to help improve healthcare outcomes. We promote the development of free and open source software tools that are able to integrate data from a variety of electronic and non-electronic sources of health information in a manner that best aligns with the vision, needs and capacity of the public health sector in countries and other implementing organizations.
This activity is about developing an overall plan and budget for the health information system (HIS) implementation, including phases and timelines, resources required (financial, infrastructure, HR, TA, etc.), funding sources/gaps, and expected outcomes, using a standard costing template.
This activity should be coordinated with partners in the country, so that resource needs and gaps can be enumerated. It is important to have a long term plan for developing and sustaining a national HIS.
Identify a national technical team who will be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and further development of the national HIS system. This team will be a critical component in the long term sustainability of the system and to ensure local ownership. This team needs to be established at the beginning of the HIS implementation and needs to lead the local customization process. The team will be trained by regional or international experts. Most training will be through learning by doing as a collaborative process between the local team and the experts. The training of this group of core implementers/system support will be on-going to make sure the team learns new components of the implemented HIS and stay up to date with the new releases and changes.
This is the process of turning the global, generic HIS into a local HIS supporting the local needs. This should be led by the national technical team with support and supervision by the regional or international experts (TA). While there will be an intensive early phase to build the main components of the local system, this is a continuous process of gradually expanding the scope of the system to include data from more health programs, to reach lower levels of the system (e.g. community health) or to make use of new technologies (e.g. mobile).
A national roll-out of the HIS and the subsequent support to users country-wide will require a team of trainers in country. The end-user training and support should be driven by in-country, local trainers (e.g. from MoH HMIS), and not using TA sourced elsewhere. Rather, TA should be for conducting Training of trainers/mentors (“ToT”) types of programmes to ensure enough skilled local capacity in the country to take care of end-user support and training. This activity should continue also after the initial phase to make sure trainers are updated on the latest developments to the HMIS system.
This activity is the process of aligning indicators and data between the national HIS and the indicators for reporting to funders. By aligning these indicators parallel reporting can be minimized and the burden on the facility health workers reporting the data will be reduced.
This will primarily involve HIS quarterly data quality workshops in-country where information users come together to assess the quality of the data and learn how the HIS can support the process of improving data quality. It is recommended to organise this activity both at the national and lower levels. E.g. all districts (level 3) could come together in one province (level 2) and review their data. So each quarter a series of these workshops will be organised in parallel. This activity is scheduled for year 2 and 3 to allow for the first year to focus on establishing the information system and securing good data coverage. By the end of the first year the reporting rates should be stable at a high level and focus can shift to data quality and use. Other in-country data assessments and approaches may also be included (e.g. WHO’s data quality report/scorecard, GF data assessment questionnaire). These will be facilitated by international experts together with in-country expertise with the goal of becoming an institutionalized activity managed in country.
The purpose of this activity is to strengthen the use of national HIS data in health programs, achieved by bridging the gap between the national HMIS unit and the HIS software and the data users at the health programs. A full time position in country will work closely with the health programs to create data use outputs from the HIS tailored to the programs’ needs. For example, a 1 year TA at the MoH will establish routine use of the national HIS data at the health programs and build long term linkages between the HMIS department maintaining the HIS and the health programs using the data from the implemented HIS.
This activity ensures the implementation is evaluated according to the initial business plan, and that the business plan is continuously updated to reflect the current situation. This TA will provide strategic guidance/advice to the continuous process of evaluation and updated plans. The TA personnel will actively participate in the end of the year evaluation and planning meetings with all stakeholders.
This activity is the continuous task of keeping the HIS robust, stable and making sure it meets the current user requirements. A new global release of the open source platform is available on a regular basis with new functionality, fixes and improvements.
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