[Computerization and the importance of information in health system, as in health care resources registry]

Acta Med Croatica. 2005;59(3):251-7.
[Article in Croatian]


The possibilities of creating a health care resources registry and its operating in Croatia as well as the importance of information in health system are described. At the Croatian Institute of Public Health, monitoring of human resources is performed through the national Health Workers Registry. It also covers basic data on all health units, bed capacities of health facilities included. The initiated health care computerization has urged the idea of forming one more database on physical resources, i.e. on registered medical devices and equipment, more complete. Linking these databases on health resources would produce a single Health Care Resources Registry. The concept views Health Care Resources Registry as part of the overall health information system with centralized information on the health system. The planned development of segments of a single health information system is based on the implementation of the accepted international standards and common network services. Network services that are based on verified Internet technologies are used within a safe, reliable and closed health computer network, which makes up the health intranet (WAN--Wide Area Network). The resource registry is a software solution based on the relational database that monitors history, thus permitting the data collected over a longer period to be analyzed. Such a solution assumes the existence of a directory service, which would replace the current independent software for the Health Workers Registry. In the Health Care Resources Registry, the basic data set encompasses data objects and attributes from the directory service. The directory service is compatible with the LDAP protocol (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), providing services uniformly to the current records on human and physical resources. Through the storage of attributes defined according to the HL7 (Health Level Seven) standard, directory service is accessible to all applications of the health information system. Directory service does not follow the history of attribute changes, and is optimized for a large number of authorizing inquiries. With it, one follows the following objects and attributes: persons, groups of people (patients, physicians, other personnel), roles (right of access and administrator permissions), organizational units, unit locations, devices and services (according to the list of services and procedures). One can add to the Health Care Resource Registry such attributes as are nonessential for inclusion in the directory service, but are of public health value. Authentication, authorization and digital signature are done by means of Smart Cards, which are used as protective elements against access to system functions, and simultaneously as a physical medium for the storage of the official certificate with which documents are signed digitally. As FINA (state financial control agency) has completed a system for certificate issuance and verification, the option of official digital signature is also available as a computer network service. Any changes taking place in the directory service are transferred by XML messages to a separate part of the Registry that reads them and automatically modifies records in the relational database. Because data input and data changes are made in health units, this makes the data updated and directly connected with health working operations. This avoids all one-time data collection campaigns using form filling about the devices and equipment in the future. As it is very difficult to monitor from a central standpoint how accurate and update the information is, it is necessary to delegate the permissions and duties associated with making changes to the directory service. By this organizational setup, the time needed to ensure data quality control is reduced. In the case described, the Health Care Resource Registry becomes an indicator of change, acquiring certain characteristics of an analytical system. An analysis of topical data renders possible proactive action and makes more effective the planning and utilization of available resources. Providing answers on the current data quickly could also be important to solution-seeking in emergencies. The present proposal to establish the Registry is intended to facilitate the future process of planning and striking a balance between investments in human and physical resources. For health expenditure control, having reliable information related to the use and purchase of new medical technology is particularly important. World Health Organization and European Union have also emphasized the need to develop new indicators in this area.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Croatia
  • Health Resources*
  • Information Systems*
  • Registries*