Developing an HRIS Data Coding Scheme

To prevent problems during data entry, the data should be categorized in a consistent, standard way. Data coding is the process of classifying data in preparation for later analysis. Before any data collection takes place, stakeholders and HRIS managers should spend time developing a coding structure to organize the data in the system. This data-coding structure should reflect the way the health system is organized in real life, such as how districts are organized within a country and how jobs are organized within a facility.

If existing workforce data are available for immediate entry, taking the time to develop a data-coding scheme may be perceived as an obstacle to forward momentum. However, an initial investment in organizing a system of data entry requires fewer resources and less time than does retrospectively correcting data-entry errors. In addition, data entered according to a standardized coding scheme are more likely to be immediately useful for creating reports and drawing comparisons at the facility and district level.

A new article in our HRIS strengthening knowledge base, "Developing an HRIS Data Coding Scheme," describes the importance of using standard data codes and describes how to eliminate the most common problems when devising a data coding scheme for an HRIS.