Monday, November 3, 2008

Improving the health information system?

HEALTH Information System (HIS) is responsible for the effective planning, development, coordination and evaluation of the health programme and activities. It is a decision support system for health management and a system that links information to managerial concern. Computerisation and networking has brought Malaysia a long way in monitoring, analysing, and disseminating information gathered on the local health data.

However, in the health services delivery there is a need for timely and accurate information for crisis management. Increasing demand for health tourism and other related health issues, a paradigm shift of Health Information System is required to cater for timely, accurate and user friendly evidence-based decisionmaking. Currently, there is limited ability to identify, monitor, access, analyse and utilise data for planning, management and decision-making.

Therefore the challenge is to have in place a strategic plan, in health informatics to ensure the provision of reliable, quality and integrated data from both the public and the private sectors.

This will enhance the ability of the nation healthcare system to effectively respond to public health challenges. This will involve building the capacity of the healthcare system to prepare for and respond to public health threat.

This function will rely to a large extent on the same data sources, data system and information infrastructure. Therefore, one of the supporting goals in 9MP is “Strengthen Health Information Management System”

Amongst the strategies that would be implemented in 9MP is the establishment of Electronic Reporting System (e-reporting) to facilitate the collection, collation and analysis of all health and health related information from all stakeholders.

It is envisaged that such a system would provide quality and timely data collection for us at national and international level, strengthen the national collaboration towards governance in the management of health information, the National Health Informatics Centre will be implemented in 9MP and will be responsible for analysis and coordination of all health and health related information in the country. The Centre will focus on strategic policies and activities in the Health Informatics.

Establishment and deployment of Health Informatics Standards, operations and documentation of all health.

Ministry of Health : All set to tackle crisis?

The Ministry takes a proactive approach. There is a comprehensive crisis management before, during and after the crisis:

● ORGANISATIONAL Response –work closely with MOH, NGOs(national and international) and the government in maintaining high levels of information sharing;

● PUBLIC Health Response –maintains surveillance on infections, carries out thorough medical investigation and carries out quarantines:

● MEDICAL Response – prioritise patients, ensure hospital observations and infections control, ensure well-stocked vaccination and administers rapid treatment;

● LABORATORY – adhere to the standard operating procedures of detecting emerging disease with the latest Communicable Disease Centre which will be established in Sungai Buloh, Selangor.

● RISK Communication – strengthening ties with media outlets as well as speedy and accurate press statement. Besides coordinating the preparedness plan internally and with laboratories as well as communicating with NGOs; simulation exercises will also be carried out to test the plan by having trial runs and table top exercises nationally and state level.