Health Information Systems
Amongst the seven building blocks for Health Systems, Health Information has been recognized as a cross-cutting building block. IHM primarily works in this area and it has extended its experience base in strengthening the information gathering and dissemination agenda across all five building blocks of Health Systems. Our tools and approaches are easily adaptable. We strive to reach a higher level of planning – engaging decision-makers and ensuring the implementation they request is based on evidence – and working with public and private host-country organizations to develop their ability to carry on after we leave.
IHM integrates Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems to decentralize data management and encourage better utilization of health information at lower levels within public health settings. The strategic information process provides a platform on which service providers at all levels of health service programs can collect, analyze, and store data to measure improvements and performance. IHM supports Information Systems Development by focusing on:
Developing capacity and promoting local ownership: IHM trains local end users of programs and tools from national level to district level. For example, IHM developed a data quality dashboard, a graphical user-interface that is linked to an operational database, which was then handed over to the people who use it. IHM then monitors its sustainability and looks for effective ways to improve its use locally.
Building health information systems when needed, and/or linking existing health information systems to each other.
Health Information Technology
Many IT products are being developed by exceptionally competent teams at the regional and global levels. A key challenge is keeping up with these changes and having the efficacy to harness the products that are out there and use them in public health contexts. IHM’s IT team works with public health entities in Swaziland and Lesotho to develop a culture of leveraging existing technology and building IT competence in managing health informatics projects. This contributes to sustainability of IT initiatives being implemented in these countries.
Research and Program
IHM assists clients in meeting research and evaluation goals using the most efficient, unbiased, and innovative survey methods and programme evaluation approaches. For research, we have experience in conducting community-based and household surveys, market research and higher-end statistical research such as randomized control studies. For programme evaluations, we help organizations answer questions about why their programmes are working or not, what are the factors that contribute to success or the lack thereof for a programme. IHMs research and evaluation team combines unique skills and field experience to conduct evaluations that are useful for the client and stakeholders.
Monitoring and Reporting
The demands for accountability and results in the development sector has helped create a better appreciation and understanding for programme monitoring and reporting. However, getting monitoring to support programming and ensuring reporting meets government and donor standards often is a challenge. Our experience in developing monitoring and reporting systems in accordance with these requirements such as the Global Fund, PEPFAR, UN Agencies forms the bases on which we provide technical support in this area. From training organizations in monitoring and reporting requirements to helping government departments and CSOs comply with monitoring and reporting requirements, IHM provides tailor-made approaches to various scenarios including developing M&E plans, log frames, building capacity in setting up an entire monitoring and reporting system and operationalizing it.
Data Quality Assurance and Data Quality
Data that is collected routinely form programme implementation contexts is increasingly being considered for rigorous statistical analyses in place of survey or research data. A big challenge in this regard has been the quality of routine Programme implementation data. IHM has developed a unique approach to addressing data quality in public health settings based existing tools and methods for addressing data quality that we can adapt in other settings. Leveraging on the tools developed by the Global Fund and UNAIDS, IHM uses a two-pronged approach of strengthening data collection processes, establishing data warehouses to improve storage and mining for reporting, and introducing technologies that help monitor and improve the quality of data along a continuum, from collection, storage/process, reporting and utilization. This has helped raise the profile of routinely collected data and made the analyses of such data be in the same realm of survey or research data.