Special Event Showcases the iHRIS Software for Strengthening the Health Workforce

On May 6, CapacityPlus hosted its third knowledge-sharing and dissemination event, Better Data, Stronger Health Workforce: The Open Source iHRIS Approach. Held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, the event showcased iHRIS, the leading open source software for tracking and managing data on the health workforce.

Many developing countries have little or no data on how many health workers they have, what their skills are, and where they are located. If information exists, it is usually in paper files and nearly impossible to aggregate and analyze. Therefore, many national and district health leaders have little ability to understand and address health workforce challenges that may be impeding access to quality health care.

iHRIS is a suite of software applications that supports strengthening the health workforce by providing accurate and up-to-date data on health workers for planning and decision-making. IntraHealth International, through the USAID-funded Capacity Project, first launched iHRIS in 2007. CapacityPlus continues to enhance the core iHRIS software while a global community of developers now provides country customization support and contributes improvements. Nineteen countries are currently using the software with more planning to implement it soon. Because the software is free to download and use, these countries have saved over $149 million in licensing fees alone.

Through a combination of presentations by USAID and CapacityPlus, interactive roundtable discussions, software demonstrations, and a moderated question-and-answer session, participants experienced each of the five iHRIS applications (Manage, Train, Qualify, Plan, Retain), learned about success stories resulting from countries using iHRIS, and discussed the power of open source approaches for maximizing local ownership, capacity-building, innovation, and partnership.

Watch videos and access presentations from the event

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Kate Tulenko of IntraHealth, director of CapacityPlus; and Temitayo Ifafore, health workforce technical advisor at USAID, welcome participants and give an overview of the need for health workforce data and the proven benefits of iHRIS, including cost-savings and using data for informed decision-making, health workforce advocacy, and to support good governance.

Human Resources for Health in Context

In the keynote speech, Karen Cavanaugh, director, Office of Health Systems at USAID provides the broader context for USAID’s vision for global health and how iHRIS fits into it. Also see the related presentation.

Better Data, Stronger Health Workforce: The Open Source iHRIS Approach

See the related presentation by Dykki Settle of IntraHealth, health workforce informatics team lead for CapacityPlus.

iHRIS in Action: Challenge and Response

See the related presentation by David Potenziani of IntraHealth, senior informatics advisor for CapacityPlus.

Interactive knowledge café and software table discussions

The event featured interactive knowledge café discussions to provide participants with a deeper understanding of iHRIS:

  • iHRIS Adoption in West Africa (Kayode Odusote, Foundation for Sustainable Health Development)
  • Achieving Scale through Building Developer/Implementer Capacity and Innovation (Juma Lungo, University of Dar es Salaam)
  • Interoperability between and beyond Health Worker Information Systems (Carl Leitner, CapacityPlus)
  • Expanding iHRIS Functions—Graduate Tracking (Luke Duncan, CapacityPlus)
  • Training in iHRIS—Developers, Implementers, and Users (Twaha Kabocho, CapacityPlus)
  • The Power of Open Source Communities for Local Ownership and Sustainability (Paul Biondich, Regenstrief Institute Inc., and Michael Drane, CapacityPlus).

Participants also had the opportunity to visit different tables to delve even deeper into features and advantages of each iHRIS software application.

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