An integrated approach to health information systems in Guatemala
Preparation for the future
Guatemala has recently introduced new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal disease that require sophisticated systems for monitoring, transport, and storage. As the immunization program is growing in complexity and size, the Guatemala Ministry of Public Health and Social Services is developing an information system that will allow health program managers to digitally transmit important immunization data and more easily manage key supplies. The Pan American Health Organization and project Optimize, a collaboration between the World Health Organization and PATH, are assisting in this effort.
During the three-year project, we aim to develop an information system that enables the digital recording and transmission of immunization data and also supports the management of vaccine supplies and cold chain equipment. The pilot project will be implemented in the Ministry of Health’s health area of Ixil. The computerization of health information builds on an initiative already underway by Guatemala’s health information management system, called SIGSA, to connect three districts and Ixil to new software, the SIGSA Web. Once the system is operational in the fall of 2011, children’s immunization records will be entered into the SIGSA Web software, producing an immunization registry for each child that health providers can easily access. The information will also be captured in a database that allows health managers to analyze disease rates, monitor outbreaks, and obtain data on vaccine coverage. Our goal is to digitize data as early in the process as possible, ideally at the point of contact with the patient, in order to minimize staff time, errors, and delays, while maximizing accuracy and scalability.