Assessing the existing e-health system functionalities towards digitization and integration
Background: Cognizant of overall limited use of functionalities of information systems in general compared to the available features, this research project is motivated to investigate the level of use of DHIS2 system functionalities. By determining the functionalities being used and unused it is possible to identifying gaps and potential interventions for improvement. Understanding the level of knowledge and extent of use of DHIS2 functionalities with the intent of improving use of the system for better digitization of the health data is the central agenda in this project. Thus, the objective of this research is to assess use of the existing e-health system functionality towards digitization and integration.
Methods: A qualitative study was employed to investigate the level of use of functionalities and identify gaps for improvement. Three health centers from three sub cities were the study sites while health information technicians and health decision makers were study participants. Data for examining the system under study is obtained using two methods, namely, interviewing and observation. A two-page interview guide consisting of 22 items in five categories was employed. For the observation, numerous detail FUNCTIONS /FEATURES of DHIS 2 under 33 major functionalities were observed at three selected health centers. An ODK tool and Google forms were used to facilitate data collection and analysis. Though four structured interviews were planned in each health center which will make a total of 12 interviews, numerous further interview sessions were conducted to clarify ambiguous issues and get further details.
Results: Findings showed that only few of the major and sub functionalities of DHIS2 were utilized currently and needs future actions to enhance system usability. In line with this, there are major functionalities are not even known by the system users. Thus, it is easy to learn that an appropriate intervention should be designed to fill the gaps observed in the next implementation strategy.
Conclusion: Assessing health system functionalities enables proper understanding of the level of system use at health centers. Good knowledge of the extent of use will in turn direct appropriate action in facilitating digitization and integration of health systems. The gaps identified through this empirical investigation in system functionality use will be addressed in the subsequent interventions planed. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2021; 35(SI-1):66-75]