HR Information Systems

Data for Decision-Making Series: Diana Frymus

Diana FrymusWe are joining the One Million Health Workers Campaign in a series of interviews, to hear from the experts why data on community health workers is so critical, and what needs to be done.

This week, we spoke with Diana Frymus, Health Systems Strengthening Advisor in the Office of HIV/AIDS at USAID in Washington, DC. She focuses on strengthening health systems to achieve HIV goals and sustain national HIV programs. Her focal areas of emphasis are on human resources for health, including CHWs, and quality improvement. She is the USAID co-chair of the PEPFAR HRH Technical Working Group and the Health Systems Global Technical Working Group on Supporting and Strengthening the Role of Community Health Workers in Health System Development. Read more »

Botswana Is Building a Strong Health System by Focusing on Health Workers

“I have a passion to help sick people,” says Oteng Gaopatwe, a nurse at Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital in Francistown, Botswana. “One thing I like most about my job is to see my clients satisfied, having a smile, and seeing all the people I have helped being relieved of their pain.”

Frontline health workers like Oteng are the backbone of health systems. In order to plan effectively for training, recruitment, and retention, countries need access to current, up-to-date information about their health workforce. Read more »

iHRIS Champions in Ghana Share Success with Using Health Workforce Data

Gracey VaughnLike many of his fellow Ghanaians, Obeng Asomaning wanted to use his skills to help his country. As a new graduate with a degree in health service planning and management, he landed a job at the Ministry of Health’s Regional Health Office in Ashanti Region. Quickly he saw that the office was struggling to access information about the health workforce. How many midwives worked in the regional hospital? How many vacancies were there in Kwabre District? How many health workers will likely retire next year? The paper-based information system yielded no quick answers.

Answers to these kinds of questions are important because the country has a critical shortage of health workers. There are only 13.6 health workers for every 10,000 people, well below the minimum recommended threshold of 22.8 health workers per 10,000 population. To improve the population’s health outcomes, Ghana needs to make the most of the health workforce it currently has while working to increase their numbers. Read more »

Open Source Health Workforce Information Systems

This post was originally published on the Global Health Workforce Alliance Members’ Platform. CapacityPlus is the featured member in March. We encourage you to join and contribute to the discussion.

The World Health Organization recognizes a key component to achieving universal health coverage is “a sufficient capacity of well-trained, motivated health workers.” For many countries, successfully managing the distribution of their health workforce is reliant upon a human resources information system (HRIS). The better systems are developed with a user-centered approach and focus on data use. Good HRIS turn data into information that can inform the decision-making process. Read more »

Tackling the Global Burden of Disease, One Health Worker at a Time

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

Laura HoemekeWe’ve come a long way over the past 40 years in preventing and treating infectious diseases. The number of child deaths now drops every year. And malnutrition is causing fewer deaths than in the past, too. However, more young people and middle-aged adults are suffering—and dying—from disease and injury. Noncommunicable diseases have become the leading cause of death and disability worldwide.

The Lancet published these results last month in The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, the largest-ever systematic effort to describe the global distribution and causes of major diseases, injuries, and health risk factors. The study is, according to The Lancet’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Richard Horton, “a critical contribution to our understanding of present and future health priorities for countries and the global community.” Read more »

A West African Perspective on Open Source

Growing up in Nigeria, Kayode Odusote liked figuring out how things work. As a young boy, he would often purchase Radio Shack do-it-yourself kits and assemble them.

Years later he became a neurologist and professor, and more recently served as director for human resources development at the West African Health Organization (WAHO). WAHO is an umbrella organization of 15 member countries, and one of Professor Odusote’s key aims was to help these countries gather and use health worker data to inform their decisions. But this wasn’t easy. “We found that none of them had the kind of human resources information system that they could use for planning,” he recalls.

Working with limited resources, he wanted to avoid installing systems that relied on proprietary software, which entails various fees for licensing, upgrades, and customization. “With proprietary products,” he explains, “the vendor controls the costs.” He has stories of proprietary applications developed by vendors in Burkina Faso and Togo; the computers they were built for became outdated and the applications could not be updated to match current operating systems of new, donated computers. They became useless.
Read more »

iHRIS: A Year of Development

Carol BalesWe know that most “year in review” articles are published in January, coinciding with the new calendar year, but the year that’s been consuming our thoughts just ended. CapacityPlus’s second fiscal year wrapped up in June and, since we’ve been concentrating on iHRIS development over the last year for our year-end reporting, we thought we’d post a summary of our accomplishments.

Following the “release early, release often” philosophy that encourages user feedback, we published 11 new releases of our iHRIS Qualify and iHRIS Manage software. We added new capabilities focused on improving the usability of the software, expanding translation support, enhancing our reporting module for data analysis and use, and, of course, fixing bugs. Read more »

iHRIS and eLearning: A New Direction for Capacity-Building

Carol BalesKabelo Bitsang, iHRIS administrator for the Botswana Ministry of Health, learned to maintain and customize the iHRIS software through studying documentation online, working with CapacityPlus developers both in-country and remotely, and attending a training in Ghana. He came from a Microsoft Windows background and learned to work in a Linux environment, the required operating system for iHRIS. “I mostly learned from trial and error and just asking as many questions as possible,” he noted in a recent interview.

Many countries, like Botswana, are adopting CapacityPlus’s Open Source iHRIS Manage and iHRIS Qualify software and have successfully modified the software to meet their specific needs. Read more »

Computerized Shortlisting Saves Time and Money

Ugandan health workerCapacityPlus works with the Uganda Ministry of Health to enhance workforce performance support, including field testing the project’s global rapid discrete choice experiment (DCE) tool to address attraction and retention of health worker cadres in rural and remote areas and a retention costing tool, iHRIS Retain. This is an excerpt from an original post on the IntraHealth International blog.

In Uganda there is only one doctor and 13 nurses to care for every 10,000 Ugandans, far short of the 23 health workers the World Health Organization recommends. Currently, only 56% of approved health worker posts are filled with qualified workers. Read more »

Without the User, There Is No System: Harnessing Technology through the eHealth Workforce

Dykki SettleThis post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

When we talk about building strong health systems and the health workers to run these systems, we often think about doctors or nurses or community health workers. Just as crucial to health systems are robust health information systems that help manage and make accessible information about patients, clinics, budgets, payroll, and all the other details that make a health care system work.

When it comes to building a strong electronic health (eHealth) information system, the user is, arguably, the most important part.

Still weak, but growing
An eHealth workforce requires system administrators, programmers, and analysts who sustain and extend a country’s health information systems and eHealth technologies. Many countries in the developing world have growing but weak information and communication systems, which makes building the eHealth infrastructure system an ongoing challenge. Read more »

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