4338.0: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 9:06 PM

Abstract #26752

Studying data quality in Bolivia: implications for health program management

Jamie Browder, MA, RN1, Mario Lagrava, MD, MPH2, and Shelley Nicholson, MPH2. (1) Management Sciences for Health/Bolivia, Casilla 10235, La Paz, Bolivia, 591-2-770807, development@msh.org, (2) Bolivia, Management Sciences for Health, 165 Allandale Rd, Boston, MA 02130

Quality data is essential for effective information-based decision making and planning. From 1998-2000 a baseline assessment to verify data quality was conducted at 81 Bolivian Ministry of Health (MOH) service delivery sites, predominantly in rural areas. After evaluating more than 40,000 client service contacts, results illustrated the need to improve data quality and helped guide a redesign of the management information system.

From local to national levels, data quality was poor for all variables, with 46% overall error, mostly over-reporting. The most significant problems were at the service delivery level, where errors in data recording, poorly designed information systems, and duplicative clinic records were contributing to the poor quality data reported to the MOH. Most importantly, these problems were resulting in poor planning and inadequate resource allocations at national and local levels.

Analyzing results by type of variable, type of health institution, and geographical area allowed teams to demonstrate the need to adjust register designs and tighten indicator definitions. Health posts, staffed by auxiliary nurses, produced the best quality information. Health centers and basic hospitals, staffed by inexperienced social service physicians and nurses, had more problems.

Study teams used results to tailor individualized, on-the-job training to meet the needs of institutions, as well as to create continuing education modules, currently being piloted. Through these improvements, clinic and MOH staff will have the opportunity to use better quality data to make informed decisions and plan resources appropriately. The quantitative methodology allows improvements to be tracked over time, greatly improving supervision techniques.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to: a) Understand the importance of using quality data to solve problems and impact health programs in Bolivia. b) Learn advantages of using control techniques and applications to measure and verify data. c) Understand lessons learned from the Bolivian experience and make suggestions for replication in other settings.

Keywords: Information Systems, Data Collection

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Management Sciences for Health
I have a significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
Relationship: employment

The 129th Annual Meeting of APHA