Tipsheet: Standardized Data Lists


Identify standards to use when sharing data.

The iHRIS software will likely not exist in isolation from other parts of the health information system. As your iHRIS deployment matures, more and more systems will want to use the data contained in iHRIS.

There are two important concepts to understand when sharing data: standardized data lists and interoperability standards. A data list is a list of options that would display, for example, in a drop-down list [see Tool 1-E]. A standardized data list specifies the same options to use across multiple systems.  Some examples to consider for standardizing are:

  • cadres
  • facilities
  • facility types
  • geographic information, such as districts and regions

Some of these standardized data lists may need to be developed by stakeholders at professional councils, the Ministry of Health, and faith-based organizations, so that they can all report information in the same way as other systems such as a Health Workforce Observatory or a health management information system like DHIS2.  Sometimes these standardized lists can be taken from an international specification such as:

There are a few interoperability standards for exchanging health worker information system between systems. One key standard, which is already supported in iHRIS Version 4.2, is the Care Services Discovery (CSD) standard from Integrating the Health Enterprise (IHE). This standard provides an XML-based data model and API to exchange health worker information between various information systems (such as iHRIS Manage or Qualify), as well as with other parts of the HIS, such as a medical record system like OpenMRS or a health management information system like DHIS2.

Tool filenames (offline version): ISCO_08.pdf (download link above); IHE_CSD.pdf (download link above); Tool1-D_intro.docx–download tool (Internet connection required)