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Health Information System

Health information system refers to a system that captures, stores, manages or transmits information related to the health of individuals or the activities of organizations that work within the health sector. Strong health systems are central to achieving better health outcomes, and strong health information system (HIS) is the backbone of strong health systems.

The need for organized, accessible, timely and accurate data for health decision making is becoming a growing concern both at regional and national levels. In response to this need, Oromia RHB in collaboration with FMOH has undertaken an extensive reform on health management information system (HMIS) involving the introduction of e-HMIS, CHIS, and IVR as part of the broader function of planning, monitoring and evaluation. In so doing, the participation and support of developing partners mainly Tulane International-Ethiopia and JSI-Ethiopia which were instrumental in the provision of different logistics and training health staff was marvelous. .

Limited access to electric power and internet services particularly at lower level health facilities has been a major challenge to the implementation of electronic health information system in the region. The RHB, in collaboration with Tulane International-Ethiopia, has recently introduced an innovative solution based on the technology of interactive voice response (IVR). The introduction of IVR has allowed the scale-up of the electronic information system to the lowest level of the health sector, health posts. The system allows health extension workers to report their performance and surveillance data using their cellphones.

Relevant health workers in public health institutions have been trained on the implementation of e-HMIS/e-PHEM, CHIS, and/or IVR. Moreover, private health facilities have been provided training on the use of e-HMIS/e-PHEM so that representative completeness will be improved in the region. Currently, all public health facilities and private health facilities are implementing e-HMIS creating an opportunity for improvement of data quality (accuracy, timeliness, and completeness) that can consequently improve quality of care, planning and implementation decisions at all levels in the health care system. With the exception of newly constructed hospitals, all functional hospitals in the region are also implementing electronic medical recording (EMR). Community Health Information System and IVR are being implemented by all Health Posts in the region.

Quality of decisions in the health sector is dependent on the quality of data made available for managers to inform their decisions. Ensuring availability of quality data in terms of accuracy, timelines, and completeness was therefore a major focus area during 2007EFY. These dimensions of data quality have been closely monitored by all levels of the health system with the purpose of continuously improving data quality.