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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Developing a health information system and the necessary behavior change to use it: The case of Albania

Altin Azizllari, MD1, Entela Cacollari, BA2, and Erion Dasho, MD, MPA1. (1) PRO Shendetit, Ruga, Tirana, Albania, 355 4 240238, aazizllari@urc.com.al, (2) Health Information Management, PRO Shendetit, Ruga, Tirana, Albania

Albania was under strong dictatorial Communist rule for 40 years; during the first part of this period there was linkage with Russia, then China, and then no country. When Albanians were thrust onto the world scene at the beginning of the nineties, it was one with which they were entirely unexposed. A leftover from Communist rule was a hand entered and maintained health information system. Although some electronic manipulation of data occurs at the central level, the system still remains a hand entered and manipulated information system. In order to understand the health needs of Albanians and to respond to those needs in an intelligent and timely manner an electronic health management information system is essential. In 2004-05 a USAID funded project (PHR plus) worked with the Ministry of Health to set up an information system at four health centers, using a simple hand-filled encounter form that was then entered onto a computer for electronic processing. The system worked well and was further expanded to a total of 20 health centers. The MoH requested that PRO Health, a USAID program, work with its own MoH staffs to develop the system further and to roll it out nation-wide. The MoH and PRO Health have now expanded the system into six of the twelve prefectures of Albania, with expectation to have full nation-wide operation early in 2007. This presentation not only introduces the system and evidence of the success it is currently experiencing, but places emphasis on discussing the challenges of changing behavior within the primary health care system. It was essential that the top leadership support and budget for the program, including infrastructure, equipment, and human resources. It was also essential that managers at health center and district levels begin to not only see that data were entered, but begin to use those data in decision making. Lessons learned, both in the development and installation of the system and of changing behavior within a system will be of value in other countries where HMIS development is growing out of a rudimentary system.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Management Information Systems, Decision-Making

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Health Systems Management: Evidence, Information, and Human Resources

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA