Effective information systems can span a wide range of technological capacity—from simple paper-based forms to basic Excel spreadsheets to advanced electronic medical record systems. Each of these formats comes with specific technical considerations. Although electronic systems may offer more functionality, they also require more infrastructure—including internet or cellular connectivity, consistent supply of electricity, functional electronic hardware, and necessary software—that may not be feasible in all settings. Information safety also becomes an increasingly complex issue with electronic systems, and issues such as data encryption, cloud based storage, and antivirus software must be accounted for when using patient level, identified data.25 A number of studies have identified consumer concerns regarding data confidentiality for patient-level data, and facility leaders should ensure that providers communicate the confidentiality of eHealth technology to ease patient concerns and increase acceptability.7 Finally, interoperability of data management systems across facilities and services is an essential functionality to ensure that information systems can effectively collect, analyze, and share critical information.1 Interoperability allows providers in different departments of a facility and across different levels of a health care system to share data, as appropriate, and should be considered from the outset of information system design.
The District Health Information Software (DHIS) is a robust data collection, collation, and dashboard system that can enable facility-level, regional-level, and even cross-country data review and comparisons that can may subsequently inform iterative quality improvement. The current iteration of the DHIS – DHIS2 – is used in many LMIC. The DHIS2 implementation guide provides recommendations for national health information system implementation as well as details regarding training, integration, and installation of DHIS2.
The Center for Health Market Innovations has compiled a database of relevant programs related to information communication technology. The applicability of these programs will depend on context.