Geocoding coronial data: tools and techniques to improve data quality
Darren Freestone, Dianne Williamson and Dennis Wollersheim
Page: 04 - 12
Clinical, administrative and demographic health information is fundamental to understanding the nature of health and evaluating the effectiveness of efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality of the population. The demographic data item ‘location’ is an integral part of any injury surveillance tool or injury prevention strategy. The true value of location data can only be realised once these data have been appropriately classified and quality assured. Geocoding as a means of classifying location is increasingly used in various health fields to enable spatial analysis of data. This article reports on research carried out in Australia at the National Coroners Information System
(NCIS). Trends in the use of NCIS location-based data by researchers were identified. The research also aimed to establish the factors that impacted on the quality of geocoded data and the extent of this impact. A systematic analysis of the geocoding process identified source documentation, data cleaning, and software settings as key factors impacting on data quality. Understanding and application of these processes can improve data quality and therefore inform the analysis and interpretation of these data by researchers.
Sustainability of health information systems in developing countries: the case of Fiji
Jeffrey Soar, Jeff Gow and Vili Caniogo
Page: 13 - 19
This paper examines the future sustainability of the Fijian Ministry of Health’s (MoH) information and communication technology (ITC) system for patient management (PATIS). PATIS was developed with AusAID funding and, as the owner of the system, AusAID has no commercial competence or interest in further development of the system. Thus, the question that arises is: should Fiji adopt a commercially available patient administration system or retain the existing PATIS? In-depth consultations with senior executives and line managers of units that were major users of PATIS were undertaken. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussion approaches were utilised. The consensus or majority views of the users were that the existing PATIS performed more than adequately. The future sustainability of the system is threatened by the lack of investment in resources (e.g. hardware maintenance and human resources) required to keep the system operating at its optimum. It was found that PATIS provides Fiji with a satisfactory patient administration system. The identified problems with the system are not related to the application per se but rather to an under-investment in resources for its utilisation.
Information support for health information management in regional Sri Lanka: health managers' perspectives
Kaduruwane Indika Ranasinghe, Taizan Chan and Prasad Yaralagadda
Page: 20 - 26
Good management, supported by accurate, timely and reliable health information, is vital for increasing the effectiveness of Health Information Systems (HIS). When it comes to managing the under-resourced health systems of developing countries, information-based decision making is particularly important. This paper reports findings of a self-report survey that investigated perceptions of local health managers (HMs) of their own regional HIS in Sri Lanka. Data were collected through a validated, pre-tested postal questionnaire, and distributed among a selected group of HMs to elicit their perceptions of the current HIS in relation to information generation, acquisition and use, required reforms to the information system and application of information and communication technology (ICT). Results based on descriptive statistics indicated that the regional HIS was poorly organised and in need of reform; that management support for the system was unsatisfactory in terms of relevance, accuracy, timeliness and accessibility; that political pressure and community and donor requests took precedence over vital health information when management decisions were made; and use of ICT was unsatisfactory. HIS strengths included user-friendly paper formats, a centralised planning system and an efficient disease notification system; weaknesses were lack of comprehensiveness, inaccuracy, and lack of a feedback system. Responses of participants indicated that HIS would be improved by adopting an internationally accepted framework and introducing ICT applications. Perceived barriers to such improvements were high initial cost of educating staff to improve computer literacy, introduction of ICTs, and HIS restructure. We concluded that the regional HIS of Central Province, Sri Lanka had failed to provide much-needed information support to HMs. These findings are consistent with similar research in other developing countries and reinforce the need for further research to verify causes of poor performance and to design strategic reforms to improve HIS in regional Sri Lanka.
Capture and documentation of coed data on Adverse Drug Reactions: an overview
Lindsay Paul and Kerin M. Robinson
Page: 27 - 36
Allergic responses to prescription drugs are largely preventable, and incur significant cost to the community both financially and in terms of healthcare outcomes. The capacity to minimise the effects of repeated events rests predominantly with the reliability of allergy documentation in medical records and computerised physician order entry systems (CPOES) with decision support such as allergy alerts. This paper presents an overview of the nature and extent of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in A ustralia and other developed countries, a discussion and evaluation of strategies which have been devised to address this issue, and a commentary on the role of coded data in informing this patient safety issue. It is not concerned with pharmacovigilance systems that monitor ADRs on a global scale. There are conflicting reports regarding the efficacy of these strategies. Although in many cases allergy alerts are effective, lack of sensitivity and contextual relevance can often induce doctors to override alerts. Human factors such as user fatigue and inadequate adverse drug event reporting, including ADRs, are commonplace. The quality of and response to allergy documentation can be enhanced by the participation of nurses and pharmacists, particularly in medication reconciliation. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding of drug allergies potentially yields valuable evidence, but the quality of local and national level coded data is hampered by under-documenting and under-coding.