Validation of the Performance-based Evaluation Framework for Electronic Health Information Systems in Uganda Using e-PEHIS

Validation of the Performance-based Evaluation Framework for Electronic Health Information Systems in Uganda Using e-PEHIS
24th/June/2021, Thursday, 16:00 CEST
Nagwovuma Margaret, an Assistant Lecturer and a Research Student, IT department, Makerere University, Uganda, East Africa.

Developing countries have continued to invest heavily in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the health sector to improve health service delivery and are largely donor-funded/supported. E-health innovations have given health service providers better means to diagnose, prevent disease and treat illnesses. However, despite the huge investments in Electronic Health Information Systems (EHIS), it is difficult to measure the outcome of the use of ICT in the health sector since many of them are not evaluated. Research shows that evaluation of eHealth initiatives in developing countries has been a great challenge. For African countries, 70% have an ehealth implementation but less than 10% evaluate them.

Evaluation is not a key activity for most eHealth implementers in countries like Uganda. To ensure proper implementation, continuity, and sustainability of these multimillion-dollar initiatives, there is need to evaluate the performance of eHealth in these countries. Performance refers to how effective an information system is in achieving the desired task. Despite the presence of National eHealth plans, limited levels of evaluation are attributed to lack of guidelines for evaluating eHealth implementations. Evaluating performance of these initiatives to support decision making and inform policy in the health sector, has proven to be difficult due to the evolving nature of technology properties and amalgamative nature of ehealth. In this regard, a holistic framework was developed to evaluate the performance of EHIS based on different approaches. This was instantiated into a prototype (EPEHIS) to improve user experience. Therefore, this study answers a question: How can EPEHIS be validated? In Uganda, a study was undertaken to validate the functionality and applicability of EPEHIS. Questionnaires were distributed to Key stakeholders that use and supervise activities concerned with EHIS. 5 districts were to represent 3 different regions of Uganda. i.e. 2 (North), 1 (East) and 2 (central). So far, 4 districts are complete.

Criteria for validation is based on: challenges for evaluation presented during the first survey in 2019 (functionality) and Flottorp et al. (2013) for applicability. Results obtained currently from 42 respondents, indicate an outstanding functionality of EPEHIS at 84% and 84% for applicability. These prove the importance of evaluating performance of EHIS using PEHIS as a mechanism for guiding policy, thus justification on continuity and ownership.