Health systems experience gains in effectiveness and efficiency from the use of well-designed, well-managed information systems. Information systems can increase effectiveness in service delivery; creating leaner, more robust, and more transparent supply chains and better matching of services to patient needs. They can also increase efficiency by reducing wastage and duplication of effort. Information systems to support all of these improvements are key elements of Chemonics’ health projects throughout the world. Our approach to information management echoes these principles of quantification and pragmatism. We believe information must be accessible, accurate, and applicable.
Enhancing effective service delivery. Smiling Sun is intended to complement the wide network of health-care facilities set up by the Government of Bangladesh with an innovative approach to health-care franchising across a system of NGO-run clinics. Over the past three and a half years, the program has built a management information system that provides stakeholders with accurate information across the network, fostering the program’s cross-cutting theme of anticorruption. The system allows the project team to capture data from clinics daily and ensure uniformity, quality, and accuracy of data.
Improving integration of health reforms. In the West Bank, the USAID-funded Palestinian Health Sector Reform and Development Project (the Flagship project), supported the Ministry of Health (MOH) to procure an integrated Health Information System (HIS). The MOH sees the comprehensive HIS, with up-to-date and reliable patient information, as a critical component for a functional health care system as well as a tool to help drive the reform process. The HIS will also foster adherence to key reform concepts, including transparency, governance, efficiency, and improvements to care.
Improving supply chain management. In Kenya, Chemonics supplies antiretrovirals and other critical drugs and health commodities to serve the needs of HIV/AIDS patients. One of the key operational components of this supply chain is the electronic management system. The system provides a single, Web-based portal into the various components that comprise the supply chain. Through the system, stakeholders in Kenya’s HIV/AIDS commodity supply network can get accurate and timely information about commodities.
Building capacity for data management. In Uganda, the ACE project designed a Web-enabled health management information system (wHMIS) to improve data flow from districts to the Ministry of Health. The system enables districts to report electronically into the central database at the Ministry of Health Resource Centre. The project rolled out the system to 40 districts and trained their HMIS officers in its use and management; the resource center is now responsible for administering the system.
Increasing efficiency. With technical assistance from Chemonics’ Santénet project, the Department of Statistics at the Ministry of Health in Madagascar conducted an analysis of its management information system and detected problems with report timeliness. With guidance and support from Santénet over a two-year period, the ministry was able to implement changes that decreased the reporting time and increased the proportion of districts sending in timely, consolidated reports. With these improvements, use of data for decision-making became a common practice at the central level.