HIS Milestone Reached! Health Information Systems Prove Interoperability Success at HIS Unconference and Training Workshop

Friday was the last day of the Western African HIS Unconference and Training Workshop, and what a wrap-up for the week it was!

The day began with a joint presentation by Patrick Whitaker and Bob Jolliffe on using SDMX-HD as the means for transferring data between different components of an integrated health information system. Bob and Ryan Crichton then proceeded with a live demonstration of:

• Importing indicators from the IMR into DHIS2
• Importing aggregate patient data from openMRS into DHIS2
• Importing aggregate health worker data from iHRIS into DHIS2

The demonstration utilized existing systems and standardized data sets from Sierra Leone and was based on their defined business and reporting requirements. This was not merely a demonstration, it was the fruit of our labors during the SDMX-HD Connectathon.

This is the first time ever that all of these health information systems were able to interoperate. This is a major milestone for all of us to have reached and raises the bar significantly for what it means to implement a fully functioning Health Information System (HIS) for a country. It will no longer be enough to have different pieces of software operating in their own data silos. Now the pressure is on for various software components of a HIS to make their data available. Furthermore, increased access and increased integration of data will provide a better basis for making sound health policy decisions. Way cool.

The day continued with an open session in which Dykki Settle discussed how CapacityPlus can help strengthen the health system and I discussed country-specific customizations for Togo. We then had an open question and answer session.

Next, the KACE , the hosts of the unconference, announced the formation of a Western African Open-Source Resource Center, with a founding contribution of several books from O'Reilly and CapacityPlus. The day closed formally with a discussion of the way forward, as well as a presentation of a set of recommendations on HIS from ECOWAS member counties to the Deputy Minister of Health for Ghana.