Data elements of type "Organisation unit" can be defined with OptionSet (and CommentSet)


Data elements using the new data type “Organisation unit” can also have option sets defined.

What is the purpose/function of combining those two in one DE construct??




Calle Hedberg

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Hi @Calle_Hedberg,

Which approach did you take with regards to data element of type ‘organization unit’ or option set?
I have chws are are currently capturing data on paper forms in which one of the fields they have to fill is the health facility the patient is being referred to.

I am building a tracker capture and my question is: which data type is better for the following data element: HF the patient was transferred to. I don not know if I would use either organization unit data type or an option set attached to DE with organization units as options.

I am looking on advice on this issue.


I gradually discovered that the DE type OrganisationUnit is severely limited, in particular with regard to analytics:

  1. You cannot filter the orghierarchy selector, for instance to only allow the selection of districts, sub-districts, facilities, or sub-facilities;
  2. the type is generally not supported in analytics.

So if the DE will only be used as a “Manual” reference, then using organisationunit is fine. But if you need to limit the selections to a specific level, or if you want to use the values in charts and maps, then it is better to use text type with option sets.

Combining the two won’t work in any meaningful way, even if the user interface formally seems to allow it.


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Hi @Calle_Hedberg,

The workflow is if the chw refers a patient to the health facility B for example, then the chw must follow up with that patient at the facility he/she was referred to, entering data on an android tablet.

The general idea is that if a patient is referred to a certain health facility, the chw must be able to select the patient in the new facility and enter data.

I do not know if the tracker needs restructuring as for now selecting a health facility as org unit from a text type data element does not make the patient available in that HF.for follow up.

Thanks again


for that purpose, I would not use a data element at all - I would use temporary referral. So you refer the patient to the HF, capture the data a required, then refer the patient back.

Obviously, the CHW must have access to the data for the referral HF, or else “break the glass” (are you familiar with how DHIS2 has designed this in newer versions?)


Hi @Calle_Hedberg,

How does temporary referral work? First I enroll a patient and fill data in program stage. Is the referral made after completing a stage?

I would love to know what steps I have to take to make a referral starting from registration to filling data in a Program stage

No, I am not familiar with how Dhis 2 has designed this/


This response addresses the problem I am having in filtering a data element of type OU/assigned to an Option Set in a Program Indicator we’re trying to display in a pivot table. It’s 2 years after this original post. @Calle_Hedberg , should I assume these limitations you noted still exist in 2023 (using DHIS version