Public health information systems for primary health care in India: A situational analysis study

J Family Med Prim Care. 2019 Nov 15;8(11):3640-3646. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_808_19. eCollection 2019 Nov.


Introduction: Information communication technology (ICT) based health information systems (HISs) are expected to transform health system functionality. The present study was aimed to evaluate HISs in India with a focus on primary health care (PHC).

Methodology: The study used a qualitative method to evaluate and understand various ICT-based HIS implemented at the state/union territory (UT) level in India. After initial scoping research on HIS through literature search and observation, in-depth interviews of key informants at various levels (programme managers, analysts, co-ordinators, data entry operator and health care providers) was carried out to have an insight on the user experience of these systems. An inductive applied thematic coding of qualitative data was done for analysing the data.

Results: Multiple applications have been developed under national health programmes to meet the health information needs, but at present, there is a limited role of these HISs in enhancing the effectiveness of comprehensive PHC. Many of these systems are proprietary-based, and the long-term sustainability and integration of these systems remain a challenge.

Conclusion: A change is required in the approach to design a HIS that will cater to the needs of PHC. Moreover, HIS should be people-centred rather than technology-centric with focus on integration and sustainability.

Keywords: Health information system; India; information communication technology; primary health care.