177592 Implementing an electronic tool to improve pharmaceutical management information systems in low-resource settings: Experiences from Kenya's ART program

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Josephine Maundu, MPH , Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems Program, Management Sciences for Health, Nairobi, Kenya
Anthony Njoroge , Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems Program, Management Sciences for Health, Nairobi, Kenya
Michael Thuo, PhD , Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems Program, Management Sciences for Health, Nairobi, Kenya
Dorine Kagai , National AIDS and STI Control Programme, Nairobi, Kenya
Issues. In Kenya, a challenge has been collecting timely and accurate health data for strategic planning using a paper-based records system. Kenya's National AIDS and STI Control Programme recognized this constraint to scaling up the antiretroviral therapy program and encouraged the development of innovative solutions.

Description. As a result, the antiretroviral therapy (ART) dispensing tool was designed to enable health care workers dispensing antiretroviral medicines to track medicines dispensed, stock levels, number of patients served, and patient treatment information. ART facilities implemented the tool in December 2004, and in July 2006, we surveyed 53 ART facilities on the tool's impact and challenges.

Lessons Learned. All sites responded: of these, 89% (47/53) reported using the dispensing tool, and approximately one-third (16/47) had been using it for over a year. Forty-five percent (21/47) of sites reported that all staff involved in antiretroviral dispensing were able to use the tool. Eighty one percent (38/47) reported using back-up procedures; however, only 45% backed up data daily. Staff reported the tool's greatest benefit as time saved in report preparation and improved accuracy. Other benefits included improved defaulter tracking and better patient medication management. Challenges included staff members' poor computer skills; use of older software, which limited the tool's optimal functioning; and limitations in various features of the tool.

Recommendations. Using a simple electronic tool can improve health management information systems, as demonstrated in Kenya. To sustain information technology use in low-resource health care settings, programs should provide basic computer training and on-site information technology support.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify challenges in implementing an electronic tool in a resource-limited health care setting 2. Describe how a simple pharmaceutical management tool impacted the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy in a low-resource setting

Keywords: Pharmacies, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversaw the implementation of the intervention described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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