Enhancing community based health information system CBHIS reporting through open source short message service based tool
Evidence - based strategic decisions, planning, budgeting, policy formulation at all levels of health care can only be made possible if there is complete, accurate, timely health information. However, the use of manual reporting forms continues to increase frequency of errors and increases the workload at the community unit by community health volunteers (CHVs). The ubiquitous wide adoption of mobile phones approximated at 78% in Kenya has been seen as a potential technology avenue to i mprove current community based health information system process flows. Taking advantage of this potential, we designed and piloted a simple SMS - Based reporting system for the CHVs and assessed its potential to improve timeliness in reporting, arithmetic a ccuracy, data completeness, cost and bottlenecks reduction in data flow in Kinamba Community Unit , Kenya. The SMS - Based reporting system helped reduce annual transport cost by 97%, over 3 days’ time saving in collating the data, improve d CHVs reporting rat e by 16% within the 3 - month period, eliminate manual aggregation which was inaccurately done according to 94% of the users in agreement . This application also removed the “ distance barrier ” which previously affected logistical manual delivery and submissio n of the reports. This research therefore recommends the use of self - sustaining open source technologies to ensure efficient and easy data collection, transmission and analysis systems for quicker response.