Community based health service providers are organizations who provide health services at community level through community health workers(CHW) or health assistants(HA) or Accredited Social Health Activists(ASHA) or Community Health Volunteers (CHV). To make healthcare accessible to people, hospitals are not enough. Even the presence of the hospitals in large numbers can’t ensure good health of the people unless good quality first contact care and follow up care at village level are provided.
Community health workers visit patients regularly at their home to deliver health services. The functions of community health workers include providing first contact health care for common and important health problems, providing sound counsel for raising health awareness and organising referrals for those problems that they can’t manage. They are engaged in helping pregnant women to plan and receive appropriate care during pregnancy. They are also trained to manage non-communicable chronic diseases and selected childhood diseases.
The availability of information on health services performance can empower Health Workers and their supervisors to improve the quality of the community-based health services. Currently paper based registers are the norm. Also, there is a need to link the health information generated by CHWs to the facility-based health information systems(HIS) or EMR systems for referral care and aggregated reporting.
Community based health services are mostly delivered under challenging and low resource environments. Hence the information systems are expected to work around such resource limitations. Further, community health workers come with only primary level education hence the application should assist them in right ways to provide meaningful counseling to the patients.
We have customized DHIS2 to build the Community Health Management Information System (C-HMIS) . The solution contains two components. First, the server component for program managers, deployed on a private cloud server. Second, the mobile application for Health Workers that runs on android mobiles or tablets. The mobile devices communicate with the server over cellular data network.
The mobile app replaces the paper based register used by Health Assistants. On top of that, it helps them to plan home visits, capture data from patients and educate patients by using multimedia clips shared by the program managers. The server backend helps the program manager to administrate the mobile application and run analytics on the data captured using the mobile devices.
The C-HMIS can be integrated with external systems like a Health Information System or a Hospital Management System with EMR to transfer either aggregate level or patient level health information.