Aligning Stakeholders for Health Information Systems Strengthening: One Step at a Time

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Author(s): MEASURE Evaluation

Year: 2016

Aligning Stakeholders for Health Information Systems Strengthening: One Step at a Time Abstract:

Implementing health information systems (HIS), whether in private or public sectors, is challenging due to many factors, including shortage of human and financial resources and leadership necessary to sustain HIS functioning. These challenges are of particular concern in developing countries where HIS and the accompanying information technology (IT) can have a huge impact on improving service delivery. Strong health information systems are the backbone of strong health systems. A properly functioning HIS gets the right information into the right hands at the right time, enabling policymakers, managers, and individual service providers to make informed choices about everything from patient care to national budgets. Strong health information systems support greater transparency and accountability by increasing access to information.

Two key challenges in Mali for full implementation of an HIS are the difficulty of taking pilot projects to scale, and a singular focus on IT or technical solutions when, in fact, a much broader approach to improve technical, behavioral, and organizational performance of the HIS is needed. For example in Mali, as in many countries, the governance and management of the HIS, including both financial and human resources and the roles and responsibilities of key contributors at each level of the health system, are equally if not more important than technical factors.

To address these issues, the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation project in Mali proposed a “stepwise” (or step-by-step) approach to align stakeholders implementing disparate HIS initiatives into a “network” in support of one national health management information system (HMIS) for Mali.

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