New Version of iHRIS Improves Health Workforce Data Presentation and Usability
IntraHealth International announces a major release of the iHRIS health workforce information software. Version 4.2 introduces changes to the core software that improve data presentation and usability.
iHRIS (pronounced “iris”) is a suite of free open source software specifically designed to supply low-resource countries with information to track, manage, deploy, and budget for their health workers. The iHRIS software has had 12 minor releases since version 4.1 was released in April 2012.
iHRIS helps capture data on health worker numbers, skills, qualifications, training, employment history, location, and more. With this information, health workforce managers and other decision-makers can address health workforce shortages and solve other challenges.
Over twenty countries around the world are using iHRIS to manage almost one million health worker records. These countries saved over $226 million in licensing fees alone, compared with similar proprietary systems.
IntraHealth International’s USAID-funded global project, CapacityPlus, supports the core development of iHRIS while several other IntraHealth projects customize the software for specific country needs.
Data Presentation and Analysis
New functionality in iHRIS Version 4.2 now makes it easier to present and analyze health workforce data for decision- and policy-making.
iHRIS can produce a variety of standard or customized reports for analysis by decision-makers to answer a wide variety of policy and management questions. A new dashboard feature allows iHRIS administrators to easily merge, compare, and contrast several reports. Decision-makers then have an overall birds-eye view of the health workforce for more insightful analysis, and for monitoring or identifying health workforce issues.
With new GIS reporting capabilities, users can now easily map geographic data associated with a country’s regions or districts, as well as facilities and training institutions. For example, a decision-maker can quickly see how many and what type of health workers are posted in a particular area or health center or how many health workers are undergoing specialized training in a certain district.
Data Sharing and Use
By adopting and adhering to new international data standards and terminology, iHRIS 4.2 better interoperates (or shares health workforce data) with other health information systems. Improved interoperability enables iHRIS health workforce data to be integrated with clinical service data, for instance, and decision-makers to compare health worker numbers and productivity with service delivery needs. As computer systems and languages evolve fast, using standards can also reduce long-term software development and maintenance costs.
The new version also mapped iHRIS data fields to match the WHO’s new Minimum Data Set for Health Worker Registries, which specifies crucial data needed for national health workforce planning and monitoring and for cross-country comparison of health workforce supply and demand.