Enabling data-warehousing functionalities
An essential step in strengthening HISs will be to link information production to use
The key functionalities offered by DHIS2 include:
1. Comprises of a tool kit of modules to develop an IHIA.
2. Data layer – platform and database independent, can inter-operate and collate disparate types of aggregate data (services, human resources, infrastructure, aggregate patient data and others), fully equipped to handle data validation, import survey data and many others.
3. Application layer – through its ability to easily define new datasets, indicators, and create reports, new applications can easily be created and deployed – for example, integration of with HMIS applications for School Health, IDSP and many others.
4. Presentation layer – strong reporting functionalities for pre-defined and ad-hoc reports, executive dashboard for bird's eye view of key indicators, data visualize and analyzer for health status and data quality analysis. Integrated with GIS for map based representations.
5. Deployed – “in the cloud or in the basement” – online and offline, accessible through mobile, and other means.
6. Multi-language enabled, currently available in more than a dozen national and international languages.
7. Integrated with various other party applications like for Mhealth, Name Based Tracking, OpenHealth GIS, and outputs exportable to enable processing in EpiInfo, Excel, SPSS and various others.
8. Web API allows integration with other databases and supports the development of an “Integrated Information Portal.
Case example: Using DHIS2 in a Block in Punjab
Rupinder Singh, Block Medical Officer (BMO) of a particular Block in the state of Punjab, while reviewing the monthly data, before sending 'upwards' to the District, noticed two cases of diarrhoea reported amongst ante-natal women from a particular Sub Centre. He made an immediate call to Manjeet Kaur, Female Health Worker of the particular facility to check if any other case of diarrhoea, especially in children has been reported, which she may have missed to report. Kaur turned to her 'child health' register to notice that four such diarrhoea cases in children had in fact been identified during her outreach session in a village. Kaur immediately called the BMO confirming these cases. Singh immediately called the District Health Officer requesting for testing of water samples from the particular village. Water testing report showed contamination. Kaur, even before the water report came, started to distribute chlorine tablets, to ensure safety of pregnant women and children. Timely availability of information, its review and action based on it helped to avert a potentially dangerous epidemic. Such monthly reviews of reports have been institutionalized in the state, and actions are now being taken on it.