Influence of computerized health management information system on service delivery: a case of health institutions within Nairobi, Kenya
To provide optimal care, healthcare institutions need timely patient information from various sources at the point-of-care, and need a comprehensive, complete and fully functional system to fulfil all these needs. One way to achieve this is through the use of HMIS in health care. With a well-implemented HMIS, the use of health system performance information will ensure that health services reflect the best policies and practices, in addition to community contexts and values. In Kenya and other developing countries the component of HMIS is weak and therefore there is often a lack of good quality data and inefficient utilization of resources. As in many developing countries, lack of reliable data and grossly inadequate appreciation and use of available information in planning and management of health services are the main weaknesses of the health information systems in Kenya. In absence of computerised HMIS, health sector hospitals face various problems such as problems in detection and control of emerging and endemic health problems, monitoring progress towards health goals, empowering the hospitals with timely and understandable health related information, and driving improvements in quality of services. The objectives of this study were to investigate the influence of computerized HMIS on service delivery where the variables were disease tracking, patient tracking services, administration and reporting. This research problem was studied through the use of a descriptive research design. According to the Ministry of Health there are 55 hospitals in Nairobi County. The 55 hospitals are categorized as public and government hospitals, private and mission hospitals and private hospitals. This study utilized a self-administered questionnaire. Data collected was purely quantitative and it was analyzed by descriptive analysis techniques.143 (53.2%) of the respondents indicated that their hospitals had used computerized HMIS to a great extent, 81 (30.1 %) of them indicated that their hospitals had been using the computerized health management information system to a very great extent.137 (50.9%) of the respondents indicated that the use of computerized HMIS influenced the service delivery in the hospitals to a great extent. On disease tracking, the study recommends that there is need of training the medical personnel to generate appropriate human resources as well as facilitate research and development activities in various fields of medicine. These will ensure that the health practitioners and other stakeholders are equipped with relevant skills that would ensure that the health institutions are efficient in disease tracking. The study recommends that there is need to engage the relevant stakeholders in patient tracking aspects like training and refresher courses as well as to ensure that the personnel are conversant with the various aspects of computerized HMIS to enhance patient tracking through accurate information, sharing of research findings through e-health, dissemination of health information to different audiences for quality health information and ensuring that health information is used rationally, effectively and efficiently. The study further recommends that since computerized health management information system influences administration of health services within the health institutions, there is need to align the administration function of the health institutions with the computerization of HMIS to enhance service delivery in the health institutions.