Health management information system (HMIS) is a software package that stores, manipulates and collects patient data for use in healthcare settings. The purpose is to provide medical professionals with an accurate, up-to-date set of records to help them make informed decisions about treatment options for each individual patient. The system helps to reduce errors, increase efficiency and promote consistency in treatment procedures. This can improve the overall quality of patient care.
HMIS units at each level of the health system manage data to inform their activities and report a required subset of information to the next higher administrative level, for example, hospital managers. The data they report includes: patient identification; clinical diagnoses; results of laboratory and diagnostic tests; prescriptions; and preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative interventions delivered. Managers then use this information to plan, monitor and evaluate health facilities and the services they deliver and generate indicators at local and national levels for governance, policy and research.
Many countries are implementing HMIS through electronic systems that can accelerate and automate the process of aggregation, reporting and data analysis. These systems can also bring routine health statistics to life through the use of innovative electronic tools such as dashboards and visualizations to make them more useful for decision makers. However, such innovations can also raise privacy concerns and create new opportunities for data misuse or even theft.
A recent study of physicians from a tertiary setup found that they had varied opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of using a HMIS. Some were of the opinion that it was cost-effective and could prevent physician-based error when identifying patients. However, most of them felt that it would not lead to a decrease in the number of patients being mistreated.
Besides improving staff performance, a health management information system also increases operational flexibility by cutting down on paperwork and making everything computerized. As a result, medication errors are reduced. It can also be used to track the progress of each patient and provide them with the best treatment based on their unique health history.
In addition, a HIMS can also help with budgeting and planning. It allows managers to analyze the effectiveness of their healthcare services, while helping to identify areas for improvement and making more informed decisions. This can be done by comparing the performance of each department, such as the patient satisfaction or the rate at which a patient gets treated.
Having a robust healthcare system is important in order to address the challenges that arise in this industry. Having a comprehensive HIMS is the key to having the right system in place. This will allow you to provide your patients with the highest-quality care, while reducing your overhead costs and streamlining operational functionalities.