February 27, 2017

Health Information Systems

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The Health Information System department gathers accurate information to enable the Clinic to efficiently plan the services and activities that it provides.


Getting accurate information on time is the mission of the health information systems department. How many cases of a certain disease has the clinic seen? What is the percentage of female patients? Where do the clinic’s patients come from? These are the types of questions that the HIS seeks to answer, but before the development of an electronic health information system, answering such basic questions was laborious. It meant flipping through pages and pages of clinic logbooks to get each patient’s name and diagnosis, retrieving cardboard medical charts from a filing cabinet, interpreting the sometimes messy handwriting of busy medics, and recording the information in another logbook to be added, divided, and analysed. Not only was each step of this process time-consuming to do by hand but was prone to error as well. A line in a thick logbook might be overlooked, a name misspelled, a diagnosis missing from the chart, or numbers added incorrectly. 

In the mid 90’s the clinic started recording all the information of patients status on excel spreadsheets. In 2000 the unit introduced electronic database program for the medical Inpatient department. By the end of 2004 all departments had changed to Microsoft Access for a more centralised and better analysis of the information. This change made possible the planning of budget and updated reports for Donors. In 2010, the HIS began the centralisation of a database for the whole Clinic.

The systems in place help the detection and progress of communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, which is present on the border. In 2004 the Tak Public health department conducted a pilot project with MTC, helping the Clinic improve its database ability to monitor 19 infectious diseases.  During a cholera outbreak in 2007, the information in the Clinics database was used to conduct surveillance in the area.

The department is in need of continuous training program for the staff on information database skills and database software. Getting computer hardware and software has been an easier task, thanks to the generosity of multiple donors, who know the importance of collection of accurate data trough time.

Centralising data and ensuring we are able to monitor the data in a fast and reliable way remains a challenge.