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Objectives: Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and establishing robust Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems are two urgent priorities and grand challenges of global health, especially in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). It is argued that addressing both these priorities requires strong supportive Health Information Systems (HIS), which to date have been elusive to develop. Methods: Two case studies are presented and discussed. The first concerns an Indian state's effort to implement a UHC HIS in primary health care while the second relates to the efforts of the Tajikistan national ministry to develop a HIS for CRVS. Results: UHC and CRVS can benefit by learning from the domain of information systems research and practice, especially relating to the design of large-scale and complex systems. From this perspective, key areas of concern in strengthening UHC and CRVS include: the role of primary health care, the role of existing systems and practices, and the fragility of technical infrastructure in LMICs. Conclusion: Implications for policymakers can be found on three levels: anchoring HIS in primary health care, renewing what already exists, and adopting hybrid rather than fully Internet-dependent systems.
Grand Challenges of Public Health: How can Health Information
Systems Support Facing Them?
Objectives: Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and establishing robust Civil
Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems are two urgent priorities and grand
challenges of global health, especially in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs). It is
argued that addressing both these priorities requires strong supportive Health Information
Systems (HIS), which to date have been elusive to develop.
Methods: Two case studies are presented and discussed. The first concerns an Indian state's
effort to implement a UHC HIS in primary health care while the second relates to the efforts
of the Tajikistan national ministry to develop a HIS for CRVS.
Results: UHC and CRVS can benefit by learning from the domain of information systems
research and practice, especially relating to the design of large-scale and complex systems.
From this perspective, key areas of concern in strengthening UHC and CRVS include: the role
of primary health care, the role of existing systems and practices, and the fragility of
technical infrastructure in LMICs.
Conclusion: Implications for policymakers can be found on three levels: anchoring HIS in
primary health care, renewing what already exists, and adopting hybrid rather than fully
Internet-dependent systems.
1. Introduction
In this paper, from a policy perspective, we discuss two contemporary and grand challenges
facing global public health, and more specifically focus on approaches to strengthen their
associated health information systems. The first challenge concerns realizing the agenda of
Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which mandates providing financial risk protection to all in
accessing quality cost-effective health care. Its significance is emphasized by the WHO
Report from MDGs to SDGs which states that UHC cuts across all of the health-related
goals and is the linchpin of development in health and reflects the SDGs strong focus on
equity and reaching the poorest, most disadvantaged people everywhere [1]. A strong
health information system is fundamental to realize the UHC agenda of providing data on
entire populations, their morbidities and mortalities, and monitoring of their costs of care.
The second challenge concerns the strengthening of Civil Registration and Vital Statistics
(CRVS) systems which represent the best source of continuous data on births and deaths.
Both the UHC and CRVS data is key to measuring progress to the SDG vision of ‘leaving no-
one behind’, and nearly one-third of the 120 SDG indicators require population data as
denominators for population-based targets. SDG3 which sets out to “Ensure healthy lives
and promote well-being for all at all ages,emphasizes a new and key focus on non-
communicable diseases and the achievement of UHC. UHC is the substantial indicator that
health systems are trying to reach in the context of SDGs, while the CRVS represents a
measurement system of where we are in reaching the UHC goals. Both CRVS and UHC are
especially relevant to Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) where tackling these
challenges is particularly urgent to improve health outcomes.
The aim of this paper is to illuminate, discuss and draw policy implications related to the role
of health information systems in facing the grand challenges of UHC and CRVS. We are doing
so based on positioning UHC and CRVS HIS as large-scale and complex information systems
each having their particular information architecture problematic. In the next section, we
present existing knowledge on the information architecture problematic and how
researchers have identified challenges and approaches to deal with it. In the following
section 3, we present two (mini) case studies illustrating this problematic in the context of
UHC in an Indian state and CRVS in Tajikistan. Based on an analysis of these cases, we build
policy implications in section 4 before we conclude in section 5.
2. The information architecture problematic
We conceptualize the information challenges associated with both UHC and CRVS as the
health information architecture problematic, representing common characteristics
associated with large-scale and complex information systems (see e.g. [2,3]). Such systems
present unique challenges and also approaches to deal with them, which we discuss around
issues of integration, installed base, evolution and politics.
A common characteristic of large-scale and complex systems arise through the need to deal
with the existence of a multiplicity of systems which are fragmented, both technically and
institutionally. These different systems each have their own deeply embedded historical
legacies which make them difficult and risky [4] to change in responding to the novel
requirements that both UHC and CRVS demand. Because these installed bases comprised of
investments in technology [2], investments in user training, and institutionalized practices
[5], are deeply embedded and hard to change, development strategies need to take an
evolutionary path (see for example [6]) as changes can only be achieved in small steps [7].
Integration of fragmented health related information systems in the health care sector has
been discussed extensively in the literature concerning both developed [3, 7, 8, 9] and
developing countries [10, 11, 12]. The very idea of integration has been challenged due to
the rationalistic assumptions it inscribes, not accounting for the multiple rationalities and
truths that are typically involved. In addition, both UHC and CRVS bring particular integration
challenges of coordination, for example, across sectors and ministries, which are further
heightened when we consider the need to link these systems as required to measure
progress towards SDG3. Integration is thus not only, and often not primarily, a technical and
institutional challenge, but also political in terms of the implications of the resulting
functional architecture after integration [11] and the power relationships and existing
asymmetries between the different institutions involved and the value they each see in
ownership of data and information systems [12]. Often integration is seen primarily as a
technical exercise of linking systems without adequately considering value add to the work
itself and not just adding more to the work [13].
UHC and CRVS systems, like many other health information systems in LMICs are faced with
challenges of poor and inadequate infrastructure, insufficient and unevenly distributed
resources, and lack of sufficient capacity to deal with the complexity they entail. It has been
further argued that the future trajectory of information systems tend to be indeterminate
making it difficult to plan for the now while keeping choices open to link with other existing
and emerging systems in the future, referred to as the challenge of change flexibility [14].
The future of UHC and CRVS systems are largely indeterminate in LMICs, being influenced by
the nature of diseases, technological changes, political agendas and various others.
While there is a significant body of knowledge around the design, use and evolution of large
scale and complex information systems, we argue that there are also additional and
particular challenges particular to UHC and CRVS systems, which require novel approaches.
We illustrate these challenges through two cases drawn from LMIC contexts of India and
Tajikistan respectively.
3. Case studies
The information architecture problematic of UHC
The centrality of information in UHC is captured in this quote by Margaret Chan, Director-
General of the World Health Organization in 2007: Without these fundamental health data,
we are working in the dark. We may also be shooting in the dark. Without these data, we
have no reliable way of knowing whether interventions are working, and whether
development aid is producing the desired health outcomes“. [15] In the Global Health 2035
report, the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health put forth an ambitious investment
framework for transforming global health through UHC by designing health service packages
and health financing systems [16]. This framework provides little guidance on building the
supporting HIS [17].
UHC has a strong informational content, requiring robust supporting HIS, which we illustrate
through the following mini case study from India which one of the authors has been involved
in studying over the last 3 years.
Since UHC is a relatively new concept in India, many states are engaged in trying out pilots to
develop scalable models for delivery of UHC services, and also their supporting information
systems. This mini-case study is based on the study of efforts of a progressive north-Indian
state to build a UHC HIS through a large business organization under their CSR (Corporate
Social Responsibility) agenda. These efforts were located in a rural clinic (called PHC) and its
subsidiary centre (called a sub-centre SC) which is responsible in providing both outreach
and clinic-based care to a 5000 population spread over 5-6 villages. There are 2 field nurses
(called ANM Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) at the SC who provide various services, which
traditionally have related to maternal and child health. They record details of their activities
in field diaries, then transfer them to registers, summarise in monthly reports and send to
the PHC for computerization. The ANM manages about a dozen registers including for TB,
Malaria, and ANC, where patient wise details is entered for every service transacted.
In practice we saw the ANMs to be struggling both with the use of the pilot tablet and the
additional workload which UHC entailed. While the ANMs saw themselves to be competent
in using tablets, they struggled with technical support issues. We found one ANM’s tablet to
be non-functional for many months, despite her multiple requests for support. As a result,
she did all her entries on paper, to be later entered in the tablet. They also struggled with
bad network, and were often not able to log in. As it was difficult to use the tablet outdoors
due to sun glare, the ANMs did their outdoor work on paper, and later when indoors
entered into the tablet, causing duplication of data work. Due to internet constraints, sun
glare, and high workloads, often the ANM could not update the tablet after the screening of
a patient, and their data in the tablet rapidly got outdated. ANMs reported a significant
increase in their workload with the advent of the UHC HIS, requiring about 60 percent of
their time to be spent on data related activities, and consequently lesser on providing care.
Historically, ANMs were entering their data in multiple places, including: primary registers;
the HMIS (Health Management Information System) for aggregate reporting; and, the
Mother and Child Tracking System (MCTS) for tracking pregnant mothers and children by
names. The UHC HIS was the latest addition to their work, with none of the earlier systems
discontinued, and involving duplications of paper and tablet-based work. The result was an
exponential increase in workload.
In addition to the workload increasing in quantitative terms, the qualitative nature of work
with UHC was also expanded. Under UHC, the ANMs were required to screen the whole
population on 8 additional conditions (Diabetes, Hypertension, Oral Cancer, etc.), and record
details in existing registers and also the tablet. Identified patients at risk needed to be
electronically referred by the ANM to the PHC doctor’s system, which further needed to be
linked to the district hospital for advanced diagnostics. Both the hospital and PHC were also
expected to electronically back refer patients post-consultation to ANMs for follow up home
based care. At a PHC, we saw patients first going to the Pharmacist who maintained the
computer system and showing their health card. Subsequently, the doctor would examine
the patient, entering at the same time the details on his computer. The poor Internet
resulted in doctors requiring many minutes to log on, and case details were often noted on
paper due to electricity failure. Long power outages and continuous stream of patients
meant that the doctor could not enter transfer the patient details from paper to the
computer, contributing to a growing number of unrecorded cases. These constraints led to a
patient-doctor encounter taking about 10 minutes, leading one frustrated patient to say;
“doctor, why don’t you do your personal work on the computer later and first deal with me.”
The doctor often could not generate a print out because of the paucity of printing paper, and
manually noted the transaction details on paper, gave that to the patient, and also entered
the same in in a local register which he maintained. The Pharmacist would further note the
transaction details in the facility Outpatients register. When asked if work had become
simpler with computers, the doctor replied “no, it has become a torture.”
Doctors did not use the system functionality to view patient history, as search was
cumbersome record by record rather than as an aggregated profile. Important historical data
related to drugs was not normally available, as the doctors were mandated to prescribe only
certain medicines. If unavailable or if the doctor wanted to prescribe something out of this
list, they would write it on a slip, and not in the computer, to escape reprimand. This
absence of drug-related information in the patient record, adversely affected the continuity
of care. Continuity of care was also adversely affected by the technical inability of both the
tablet and PHC computer to generate referral linkages and synch data across systems, and a
poor existing culture of emphasizing follow-up care. For example, a doctor said he did not
use the available system functionality to schedule follow-up visits as it was the patients’
responsibility to come, and not theirs to follow up.
To summarize, both the ANMs and doctors saw no added value from the UHC HIS, as it was
introduced as “yet another system” without integration with and rationalization of existing
systems and processes. This added significantly to existing workload without adding value in
terms of strengthening care processes, such as of continuity of care. Infrastructural
constraints of electricity, internet and paper were significant, and the demands of the UHC
HIS could not be adequately addressed.
The information architecture problematic of CRVS
CRVS concerns the registration of vital events like births and deaths, and the generation of
vital statistics from these individual records. CRVS is based on four interrelated informational
functions: recording of the vital event; notification of the same to the relevant authority; the
legal registration of the event; and, the generation of vital statistics. An effective CRVS
information system should in particular help in strengthening mortality reporting (maternal,
neonatal, and infant) disaggregated by age, sex, social group and geography [18]. These are
key measures of health systems outcomes and also the health related SDGs. Despite the
fundamental importance of mortality reporting, yet for most LMICs, this data is very weak
with limited mechanisms for data capture, with many gaps such as in reporting from
hospitals as well as for deaths at home, and ICD (International Classification of Diseases)
coding remains weak.
Building robust CRVS HIS requires multi-sectorial coordination mechanisms across
departments of health, civil registration, statistical offices, and the community. In many
nations, the health department is legally mandated to function as the civil registration
authority, hence necessitating coordination between different ministries. Another key
challenge is bringing about legal and regulatory changes needed to link CRVS improvements
with national identity management systems and the use of new ICTs such as mobiles for
registration and notification of an event.
Securing cooperation from the communities is crucial for improved recording and
notification of vital events, but is often difficult to establish as this will involve reaching out
to community leaders, funeral authorities, religious leaders, grassroots organisations, and
others. Building these linkages is as much a technical challenge as it is institutional. For
example, improving death registration requires the establishment of clear standard
operating procedures for certification with cause of death in different contexts the home,
the hospital, where the doctor is available or not - and how this data is coded, shared,
analysed and presented while maintaining confidentiality. And there needs to be clear
strategies on how to trace and list unrecorded deaths. This requires widespread training of
doctors in PHC facilities on medical certification of death based on ICDs, including situations
where cause of death has to be defined retrospectively. ICT support is required across
functions (recording, notification, registration, generating of statistics), across levels (from
community to national level), and to facilitate interoperability across sectors.
In the case study presented below, we present how Tajikistan is trying to improve their CRVS
HIS, the challenges experienced and how attempts have been made to address them, with a
relative degree of success.
Till recently, Tajikistan had a well-established CRVS information system, though almost
totally without ICT support. Civil registration is handled by the Civil Registry Office (CRO)
which is located in all the 68 districts of the country, organized under the Ministry of Justice.
While being used as an example of strong routines and an institutionalized system, a
significant portion of neonatal deaths were not being recorded, as these typically happened
within the Ministry of Health facilities. Because the CRVS system relied mainly on paper
records, there was no easy way of accessing and sharing such data across health and justice
departments. There were also other challenges, like disincentives to report early deaths or
the payment requirements for citizens when interacting with the CRO, for example to get a
birth or death certificate.
At the municipality level, local government secretariats record vital events (births, deaths,
marriages etc.) for their catchment areas and on a monthly basis, and reported details to the
district CROs. Registration takes place based on citizens furnishing appropriate documents.
For example, health care institutions provide documents with proof of births and deaths.
Since the majority of Tajikistan’s population lives in rural areas, the bulk of data comes from
the municipalities. The State Statistics Agency (SSA), the official body for generating and
sharing public statistics, produces vital statistics such as censuses, household surveys,
demographic statistics and a wide range of economic statistics. The Statistical Office in the
capital city of Dushanbe receives consolidated and aggregated CR data along with copies of
the original records, where it is codified and aggregated reports generated. The SSA as the
official body for publishing national statistics can share demographic data with other
government and non-government organizations and make publications.
In 2013, the Government of Tajikistan, supported by European Union funds, started national
level computerization in two parallel streams: the national Health Management Information
System from the sub-district level; and, the CRVS system from the district level, interestingly,
both using the same open source software platform (DHIS2, see for more
information). While for HMIS, the aim was a national level implementation, the CRVS system
was to be piloted in one site at the district level. However, CRVS transactions with the public
took place at the level below the Jamoat (municipality). In the pilot, the paper records
were brought from this level to the district for computer-based entry. The HMIS was made
fully operational nationally in 2016. Further, the proof of concept of the CRVS pilot was
successfully established at the district level, and in the next phase currently ongoing the
system is being decentralized to the next level of the Jamoat, to allow for direct entry of vital
events and the generating of certificates while interfacing with the public. To deal with
historical CRVS data, there is a plan to digitize the existing paper records, and assess the
national digital infrastructure required. The use of the DHIS2 platform for both HMIS and
CRVS has established the potential to share data across the two systems in the future.
The building of this CRVS system demonstrates the successful use of an incremental strategy.
First, the district level proof of concept was established, and then scaled to other districts,
before moving to the level below of the Jamoat to make it go live with real transactions. In
further phases, there are plans to digitize historical records, integrate CRVS with HMIS, and
strengthen mechanisms of sustainability.
In this section, we have discussed some of the informational needs and challenges
associated with UHC and CRVS HIS. This analysis helps us to understand how these systems
are large scale and complex, and reflect some of the issues discussed in section 2 which
characterize the information architecture problematic. Both these systems have the need to
integrate with others, like the HMIS in CRVS, and the hospital and primary care HIS in UHC.
Both systems have to contend with historically existing technical and institutional installed
base, like the historical records in the CRVS case, and the working practices and systems of
the PHC in the UHC case. The need for an evolutionary approach is exemplified in both cases,
demonstrated successfully through the CRVS case, while the absence of it contributing to the
relative failure of the UHC system. Addressing the political dimension is crucial, and the CRVS
system addresses it systematically by building collaborative coalitions in the CRVS case
between Ministries, the SSA and donors. Such political coalitions are conspicuous by their
absence in the UHC case.
While the CRVS and UHC system exhibit the characteristics of large scale and complex
systems, there are certain particularities which require us to also expand our
conceptualization of these systems. Achieving this both conceptually and practically,
represents our grand challenge.
4. Implications for Policy
A common characteristic of both UHC and CRVS is that they are primarily grounded in
Primary Health Care (PHC) based activities. UHC’s goal of providing financial risk protection
for all in accessing health care has necessarily to be grounded in PHC work which is the
entity primarily responsible for providing health care to all. Similarly, births and deaths take
place primarily in the community, and CRVS is also grounded in PHC work. An implication of
this characteristic in designing the supporting Health Information Systems (HIS) for both UHC
and CRVS is that they should build upon and extend existing routine facility information
systems which provide the existing backbone for PHC work. Our policy implications will be
anchored in this perspective.
Large scale and complex information systems are networks of interconnected components
belonging to and controlled by different actors. The design, implementation and
maintenance of these networks of systems must therefore be aligned with the interests,
often competing and conflicting, of a variety of actors and institutions involved in these
processes [11]. As a starting point, UHC and CRVS must be acknowledged as comprising such
large scale and complex information systems. They cannot be built from scratch or changed
based on quick fixes, but requires substantial cross-institutional efforts over time. How
policy can be framed to face this complexity and the broad challenges relevant to both UHC
and CRVS described above, is now discussed.
A key learning from two decades of information systems research is that “airplanes don’t fly,
airlines do”, reflecting the interconnected nature of the technical and social domains, and
the need to align and nurture over time heterogeneous networks comprising of people,
technologies, institutions, work practices and more. This underlies the informational needs
and problematic, alluded to earlier, and addressing this lies at the core of strengthening the
information systems for CRVS and UHC. Illustrated by the cases above, we see three basic
implications related to the design of the supporting HIS necessary to deal with the
challenges of CRVS and UHC. We discuss each of these and how they relate to policy in the
Anchoring HIS within Primary Health Care building upon what already exists
We have in this paper argued that both UHC and CRVS are anchored in PHC work. Designing
HIS must build upon and extend the existing facility HISs that already exist. Most LMICs have
multiple existing HIS with supporting infrastructure and human resources capacity. This
represents the installed base, which has its own inherent agency and capacity to shape the
trajectory of new initiatives. Policy should aim to encourage new UHC and CRVS initiatives to
leverage on this installed base, especially that which is found to work in practice, rather than
start on a new slate which runs the risk creating redundancies in resources and expanding
fragmentation. Important is for the new systems to not become one additional system
adding to the high work load of health staff, but using this opportunity to rationalize and
reduce redundancies. Relating to and building on what already exists will require changes in
small, incremental steps. By for example using prototypes, the viability of solution can be
tested on small scale before being scaled across functionality, populations and geographies.
The typical PHC based HIS is designed to support the local practices of health workers and
thus not likely to fully support CRVS and UHC work which is dispersed over a large
population, supporting continuity of care and the vital events throughout the lifetime of the
citizens and interlinking different levels of the health system and across different institutions.
To scale the prototypes and institutionalize its use across the larger population and
institutions, network effects and spill-overs within a growing user base can be pursued by
targeting motivated and knowledgeable users, choosing simple, non-critical, use areas and
use relatively cheap and well supported technical solutions typically based on free and open
source platforms [19]. Both CRVS and UHC involve evolving work practices, both in volume
and type, and their supporting HIS should be designed to allow accommodating changes
over time. Thus, system specifications should include concrete requirements on flexibility
and openness for future changes and innovation.
Renewing what already exists integration and rationalization
UHC and CRVS HIS add value by providing more granular information on people, vital events,
diseases, costs, all over time. This requires the HIS to be capable of providing clinical and civil
registration support, enabling the generation of aggregate reports, notification and
registration of vital events etc., and thus reducing the need for primary registers and
strengthening the follow up of individuals.
The multiple systems and data sources involved in UHC and CRVS, such as for surveys,
census, different health facilities and health programmes, requires integration at both the
technical and institutional levels. At the technical level, this involves building and
implementing syntactic and semantic standards [8], institutional integration requires
building mechanisms for multi-level and multi-sector coordination, and robust systems for
governance. UHC and CRVS fundamentally deal with individual level data, and its registration,
storage, cloud hosting, processing and transmission across levels and entities requires active
regulation such as related to data privacy, which typically is weak or non-existent in most
LMICs. Anchored in the health facilities, both UHC and CRVS require health workers to
record, track individuals and report data. If UHC and CRVS HIS is introduced without
integration and rationalization, this will increase the work burden of the health workers
significantly. With appropriate architectures and relevant integration of systems, old and
new, it is at the same time possible to support the health workers practices and reduce their
burden in terms of time spent on data entry and reporting, and add value to their ability to
take local action. For example, one of the reasons for the success of the CRVS system is its
ability to add value to civil registration work by providing functionalities to actually generate
birth and death certificates, which consequently reduces the manual burden of creating
these certificates. In contrast, in the case of the UHC HIS, no such clear value adds were
Standards provide the glue around which integrated systems can be designed for and
evolved over time. Standards need to be defined for both semantic (i.e. defining business
logic and nomenclature) and syntactic (i.e. technical protocols to exchange data across
systems) levels, supported by robust business level cooperation agreements. The
architecture must be based on key components and their underlying business relationships
and it must enable multiple uses of the different information flows. Information systems
research [20] warns that standards defined top down and parachuted down to organizations
users’ work settings will not work, and instead, they need to emerge from and evolve close
to practice. Such an approach helps to strike the right balance between stability and
flexibility in use and for change. Furthermore, standards need to represent a hierarchy with
senior administrators requiring more aggregated standards than the levels below. This will
require the definition of governance mechanisms clearly distinct from management,
providing appropriate mechanisms through which standardisation choices are made and
implemented. With the complexity of evolving health care practices, we cannot anticipate
the future fully, and thus need to assure that our architectural decisions are not blocking or
making irreversible certain paths in the future. Effective standards will go a long way in
addressing the integration challenge and lay the foundation for rationalization.
Lack of regulation may encourage innovation and the free flow of information across
hierarchies and institutions. But its lack also introduces significant risks in terms of the
potential repercussions and (perceived) consequences of future regulations. Policy should
encourage the initiation of processes towards regulating these voids. And regulation should
be balanced in supporting open data in the public domain and free flow of information
across institutions for the larger good, while at the same time ensuring privacy protection for
the individual. Many ministries are bound by regulations that health data should not leave
their national boundaries, and are not adequately informed on how to deal with the
technical and institutional issues as data is increasingly being hosted outside their
organization, i.e. in the cloud. At the organization level, policy should support eliminating the
many unknowns around contracts made for example by ministries of health and cloud
services providers. Appropriate regulation will support and encourage the flow of
information across institutions and institutional hierarchies. Establishing strong and flexible
linkages between the PHC based HIS with other systems will help enabling more
comprehensive UHC and CRVS.
Adopting hybrid rather than fully Internet dependent systems
Digitization should be pursued, but in communities where paper is the most viable solution
the focus should be on seamless integration between paper and the digital. Innovations
based on low-end technologies such as basic mobile phones (rather than smart phones)
should be encouraged. ICT tools are essential but not sufficient to overcome institutional
barriers as well as those related to organisational capacity and political prioritisation. They
need to meet the technical and institutional requirements of interoperability. This challenge
of infrastructure, especially relates to the need of building integrated systems in unevenly
resourced environments, for example settings (such as villages) with varying access to
electricity, Internet, computers and mobile phones.
Typically, HIS in PHCs of LMICs will be heavily constrained by lack of or fluctuating Internet
connectivity and electricity. System design therefore needs to be fundamentally hybrid,
providing for both online and offline data entry and access with the ability to synch both
forms. Further, mobile Internet should be considered as an option because it provides more
reliable connectivity than fixed Internet. By avoiding utopian infrastructure requirements,
such a design reduces data loss, minimizes work duplication whilst moving between paper
and the digital.
5. Conclusion
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) are two
grand challenges facing global public health. We have in this paper discussed how
strengthening their respective PHC anchored supporting HISs can help in facing these
challenges. Positioned related to the information architecture problematic, we have
described three areas of policy implications which we believe can be a useful reference,
including: Anchoring HIS within PHC, Renewing what already exists and adopting hybrid
systems. While we in this paper have focused on HIS design, we have also pointed out other
challenges to be addressed to establish successful supporting HIS for UHC and CRVS such as
those related to legal regulations.
Author statements
Competing interests
None declared.
Ethical approval
Not required.
The authors are grateful for the support from the University of Oslo and the Research
Council of Norway.
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... Unreliable infrastructure, lack of interoperability of systems, lack of regulations, and lack of healthcare workers' commitment are common barriers to IS/IT implementation in developing countries [7,8]. Barriers to IS/IT can cause inefficiency in maternal and neonatal referrals [2]. ...
... We proposed an architectural design for integrated health referral IS/IT in PHCs (Figure 3). To overcome internet problems, IS/IT should have the ability to work online and offline, with appropriate syncing [7,8]. The mobile internet, which offers more reliable connectivity, can also be considered [8]. ...
... To overcome internet problems, IS/IT should have the ability to work online and offline, with appropriate syncing [7,8]. The mobile internet, which offers more reliable connectivity, can also be considered [8]. ...
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Objectives: This study explored health workers’ perceptions and experiences regarding the maternal and neonatal referral system, focusing on barriers of health information systems and technologies (IS/IT) at primary health centers (PHCs) in South Tangerang, Indonesia. Methods: This qualitative study was conducted using semi-structured interviews, which were conducted at the South Tangerang District Health Office and three PHCs. Interviews were conducted with nine participants responsible for maternal and neonatal referrals in their organizations. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results: In South Tangerang, the Primary Health Care Information System (SIMPUS) is used to register patients and record data on medical treatment. To facilitate referrals, the PHCs currently use the Integrated Referral Information System (SISRUTE), P-Care, and the Integrated Emergency Management System (SPGDT). The following four IS/IT barriers to support maternal and neonatal referrals were found: technology, human resources, organizational support, and the referral process and implementation. Conclusions: The barriers in technology, human resources, and organizational support cause problems in the maternal and neonatal referral process and in the implementation of referrals. Barriers to referrals can influence patients’ ability to receive appropriate care in a timely fashion and lead to inefficiency in maternal and neonatal referrals. This study contributes knowledge about IS/IT implementation in maternal and neonatal referral systems and provides recommendations to health regulators and application developers for the implementation of IS/IT in Indonesia
... Em meio à diversidade de tecnologias existentes, na maioria dos casos, as soluções para os problemas de saúde sugerem a implementação de SIS [18]. Essas atividades geralmente são tratadas como projetos técnicos, realizados de forma linear e seguindo metodologia pré-estabelecida, com o objetivo de atingir objetivos predefinidos. ...
... O trabalho de implementação de um SIS, entretanto, pode não se limitar ao olhar estritamente técnico das ferramentas empregadas. Existem estudos que corroboram que a atividade requer uma análise mais detalhada de atores, organizações governamentais, internacionais, agências de financiamento e outros que possam surgir [18] [13] [2]. ...
... Therefore, this reveals that the competitive advantages stem from the IS solution and its utilization [44]. Indeed, on account of the functions above and the importance of ISs, there are so many studies showing the significance of ISs regarding a wide range of different disciplines such as health and medicine [37,31], transportation [7], energy [36], biology [27], education, environment [4], geography [42] and so many other ones. However, there are many studies about supplier selection in which different types of ISs play a significant role [35,2]. ...
Information Systems (IS) have turned into vital means for companies to survive in the contemporary technology-oriented environment. Subsequently, over the last decades, this has brought about the heavy investment of companies in ISs to guarantee high-quality products and services. Similarly, supplier selection (SS) plays an inescapable role in today’s business. In addition, there are several studies published showing the importance of the ISs in the SS problem. However, there has not been any work evaluating the effectiveness of ISs on the SS problem, including a comprehensive and up-to date SS model. Therefore, this study proposed a complete model including six criteria that are almost most important and shared in the literature: sustainability, reliability, resiliency, greenness, risk and cost, and 31 sub-criteria. Then the effectiveness of 10 ISs on the SS problem has been shown through using BWM in two consecutive stages, and then the model conducted in Emdadkhodro automotive company to show its practicality and accuracy.
... As health consumers, citizens are expected to play an active role in all aspects of their healthcare (diagnoses, treatments, medicines). However, cross-border health is a major societal, economic and cultural challenge for EU policy-makers and Member States, as health systems face dual pressures of globalization and convergence (Sahay et al., 2018) coupled with increased financial constraints and rationing (Stein and Sridhar, 2018). Our study draws on context-specific empirical insights to generate theoretical observations (Davidson andChiasson, 2005, Marmor et al., 2009) on the ideological and implementation challenges of supra-national HIT policy. ...
The concepts field and habitus are used widely and variably in institutional theory. The intellectual antecedents are found in the work of the French Sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu. This study presents a field-level analysis of pan-European policy on cross-border health information technology. Using field theory and institutional theory, we situate field as a multi-level concept which extends institutional and organizational levels of analysis. Empirical data is gathered from European policymakers, health professionals and patient advocacy groups on the diffusion of supra-national health information technology across European Member States. Findings reveal four scenarios depicting field tensions, as ideological and practical imperatives of supra-national health information technology policy mis-align with Member State health systems. This study has implications for policy-makers and other stakeholders, who seek to narrow the digital divide across health fields and sub-fields.
... In this context, Health Information Systems (HIS) area has promoted a discussion on the research and practice community challenges [1], but these reflections must be extended to CBMS field. The analysis of current challenges can be further extended even when we observe how that systems has contributed to improve healthcare practices. ...
... Kemajuan dalam bidang teknologi informasi dan peningkatan penggunaan internet telah mengubah kehidupan orang-orang dengan meamungkinkan berbagai layanan online. Belakangan ini, sektor kesehatan yang menghadapi tantangan layanannya mulai mempromosikan dan menggunakan kesehatan seluler (Sahay, et al,. 2018 Sistem rujukan diharapkan semua memperoleh keuntungan. Misalnya, pemerintah sebagai penentu kebijakan kesehatan (policy maker), manfaat yang akan diperoleh di antaranya, membantu penghematan dana dan memperjelas sistem pelayanan kesehatan. Bagi masyarakat sebagai pemakai jasa pelayanan akan meringankan biaya pengobatan karena pelayanan ...
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Kondisi yang mendesak misalnya gagal jantung, gagal nafas, perdarahan post partum, eklamsia atau kondisi yang mengancam nyawa lainya membuat tenaga kesehatan, pasien dan keluarga pasien sangat ingin segera mendapat informasi rumah sakit tentang ketersediaan ruang rawat dan ketersediaan darah. Teknologi yang diterapkan pada perangkat seluler dapat menjadi strategi penting dalam program penyediaan informasi ketersediaan ruang rawat dan ketersediaan darah. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk membuat aplikasi ketersediaan ruang rawat dan ketersediaan darah (siDARURAT). Penelitian ini menggunakan desain penelitian Waterfall dengan uji black box.Hasil penelitian ini yaitu terbentuk aplikasi siDARURAT yang dapat digunakan melalui smartphone atau komputer, dan fungsi dalam sistem, baik form maupun tombol-tombol yang ada telah berjalan sesuai fungsinya berdasarkan pengujian black box. Agar aplikasi ini lebih maksimal, diharapkan rumah sakit dan PMI secara rutin mengupdate data ketersediaan ruang rawat dan ketersediaan darah.
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Objective To assess a common hypothesis that data serve as a mechanism to improve health and health equity in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs), we conducted a synthesis of the evidence about the linkage between data capabilities in LMICs and health outcomes. Methods We searched and reviewed peer-reviewed and grey literature published in the past decade that focused on at least one aspect of health data or health equity or provided insights on the relationship between data use and improved health outcomes, decision-making, or both. We supplemented this with expert interviews and convenience-sampled literature. Results Of the 50 included articles, 33 discussed data collection, with 23 stating that poor accuracy, reliability, and completeness hindered data-informed decision-making. Of 27 articles discussing data access, 18 described how lack of interoperability between data systems hampered governments’ and other organizations’ ability to leverage the full value of data available. Of 19 articles discussing data use, 13 discussed how data were not getting to those doing work on the ground. Although key informants postulated a virtuous cycle between data and improved health outcomes, evidence did not support this connection. Conclusions Findings indicate better data might improve health service delivery. However, more work is needed to examine whether improvements in data yield improvements in health outcomes in LMICs. Our conceptual framework of data equity for health and health equity developed through this scoping review helps identify the key components along which to assess improvements in LMICs’ data capabilities.
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The implementation of e-Puskesmas can produce accurate and standardized report data so that health services can be effective and efficient so that the incidence of disease outbreaks in the community can be immediately addressed and addressed by health workers at the Sungai Penuh City Health Care. To analyze the description of supporting devices efficiency in the implementation of the e-Puskesmas information system. Descriptive quantitative, a sample of 55 units supporting the implementation of e-Puskesmas was taken using total sampling. The average hardware score of good e-Puskesmas was 74.5% and the average hardware score of e-Puskesmas was 25.5%. The average score of good e-Puskesmas software was 36.4% and the average score of e-Puskesmas software was not good at 63.6%. The average score of the complete e-Puskesmas data is 45.5% and the average score of incomplete e-Puskesmas data is 54.5%. The average score of the good e-Puskesmas network was 27.3% and the average score of the e-Puskesmas network was not good at 72.7%. It was found that the supporting devices for the implementation of e-Puskesmas had not been optimally updated at Sungai Penuh city health care. Evaluate and supervise the supporting devices for implementing the e-Puskesmas information system so that health services are effective and efficient.
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Health systems in developing countries are commonly struggling with multiple and overlapping information systems (IS). There is a need to move away from this to reduce the burden of parallel reporting it creates and enable coordinated information collection and sharing. However, this is not straightforward as it prompts intricate functional architecting activities across a range of IS domains including health staff, commodities, logistics, progress tracking, financing and health services information. This paper is based on a case study of a District Health Information Software and how it is involved in the current drive toward integrated systems. From focusing on aggregate health indicators for health management, it is becoming one component among others in larger architectures where it may take on many different roles. The aim of this paper is to strengthen our understanding of the opportunities and challenges related to functionally architecting integrated systems. Applying an information Infrastructure lens, we describe these processes as involving a range of different software components and actors not under any central control. We conceptualize functional architecting as activities performed by multiple actors to configure and re-configure the functional roles of independent software components. Based on the case study, we contribute by identifying three different architecting strategies and conceptualize them as connecting, encroaching, and charting.
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Executive summary Prompted by the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Development Report, a Lancet Commission revisited the case for investment in health and developed a new investment frame work to achieve dramatic health gains by 2035. Our report has four key messages, each accompanied by opportunities for action by national governments of low-income and middle-income countries and by the international community.
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T he paper examines managing knowledge across boundaries in settings where innovation is desired. Innovation is a useful context because it allows us to explore the negative consequences of the path-dependent nature of knowledge. A framework is developed that describes three progressively complex boundaries—syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic— and three progressively complex processes—transfer, translation, and transformation. The framework is used to specify the practical and political mismatches that occur when innovation is desired and how this relates to the common knowledge that actors use to share and assess each other's domain-specific knowledge. The development and use of a collaborative engineering tool in the early stages of a vehicle's development is presented to illustrate the conceptual and prescriptive value of the framework. The implication of this framework on key topics in the organization theory and strategy literatures is then discussed.
Objectives: This paper assumes that in addressing major challenges related to telemedicine as networks enabling huge improvements of heath services we need to move beyond complexity and rather focus on the very nature of such networks. Methods: The results of this paper are based on an interpretive analysis of three case studies involving telemedicine, i.e. broadband networks in minimal invasive surgery, EDI infrastructures and telemedicine in ambulances. Results and Conclusion: The well-known concept of “critical mass” focuses on the number of users as a significant factor of network growth. We argue however, that we should not only consider the size of the network, but also the heterogeneity of its elements. In order to discuss heterogeneity along several dimensions, we find Granovetter’s and Schelling’s models of diversity in individual preferences helpful. In addition to the heterogeneity of the individual users, we discuss heterogeneity related to use areas and situation, to technologies, etc. The interdependencies and possible conflicts between these dimensions are discussed, and we suggest “bootstrapping” as a concept to guide the navigation/exploitation in/of these dimensions.
Over the last three decades enormous effort has gone into strengthening public health information systems (HIS). They are now a key element of health sector reform initiatives, but are growing in complexity. This is driven by the increasing diversity of technology platforms, increasing demands for information, the multitude of actors involved, and the need for data security and privacy. Initiatives like Universal Health Coverage and Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases are expected to place further burdens on all health systems. However, they will pose particular challenges in resource-constrained settings, such as low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where health systems have struggled to provide quality care.
This paper examines some of the current challenges surrounding the implementation of information and communication technology systems to support the delivery of care within health services. These highly complex electronic information infrastructures support an increasingly broad array of functions and actors. They are being supplied in the UK National Health Service by commercial vendors as Commercial Off-The Shelf solutions. Vendors have struggled to develop generification strategies that can accommodate the diverse practices and requirement of adopter organisations within their more-or-less standardised packages. At the same time there is enormous demand for improvements, coupled with a huge reservoir of potential innovations particularly where health practitioners interact with technology entrepreneurs. However, many outcomes of this bottom-up innovation process have struggled to be taken up more widely. As a result there has been markedly uneven progress in achieving radical visions that are being mapped out of how technology might transform healthcare. Drawing insights from Science and Technology Studies and related Information Systems research, the paper explores conceptual frameworks and methodologies that may help us better understand these challenges: the barriers to exploiting local innovations and taking them upon a wide basis and the tensions that need to be managed in the process.
CSCW as a field has been concerned since its early days with healthcare, studying how healthcare work is collaboratively and practically achieved and designing systems to support that work. Reviewing literature from the CSCW Journal and related conferences where CSCW work is published, we reflect on the contributions that have emerged from this work. The analysis illustrates a rich range of concepts and findings towards understanding the work of healthcare but the work on the larger policy level is lacking. We argue that this presents a number of challenges for CSCW research moving forward: in having a greater impact on larger-scale health IT projects; broadening the scope of settings and perspectives that are studied; and reflecting on the relevance of the traditional methods in this field - namely workplace studies - to meet these challenges.