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  Health Management Information System (HMIS)

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to ensure necessary architectural corrections in the basic health care delivery system. The plan of action includes: increasing public expenditure on health, reducing regional imbalance in health infrastructure, pooling resources, integration of organizational structures, optimization of health manpower, decentralization and District management of health programmes, community participation and ownership of assets, induction of management and financial personnel into District health systems, and operationalizing Community Health Centres into functional hospitals in each Block across the country that meet Indian Public Health Standards.

HMIS is defined as:
“A tool which helps in gathering, aggregating, analyzing and then using the information generated for taking actions to improve performance of health systems.”

Value Addition Through HMIS-

All levels in a health department, be it a Primary Health Centre or a District Hospital or the State or National Office, need information on regular basis not only to monitor the health status of the population they serve but also to track progress towards achievement of targets under different health programmes. Information needs, purpose, and use of information differs at each level in the hierarchy. Therefore, a robust information system which can provide accurate, up-to-date, and timely information to the health department is needed at every level.

Following are the uses of HMIS at different levels of health department:

At the National and State level, HMIS is primarily a tool of policy and strategy making. It is useful for assessing the progress of national health programmes. For example, by analyzing full immunisation coverage in different states, the officer responsible for child health can evaluate performance of immunisation coverage in various States, so that they can allocate resources more effectively and strengthen support for these States.


At the State and District level, HMIS is a tool of programme monitoring and management. A robust HMIS can help Programme Managers to track the progress of implementation of various programmes. It enables them to distinguish well performing areas from those that require more support and resources. Thus, HMIS helps in planning and designing specific interventions that can strengthen a programme.


At the sub-District level such as Block, PHC, sub-Center, and other facilities, HMIS facilitates: efficient and effective registering and collation of data; improvements in data quality; systems for complete reporting; timeliness and accuracy; provision of data analysis tools; interpretation and translation of data to guide action and intervention at local level. HMIS’s Name-based tracking system for pregnancy and child-care can help ANM to use their primary name-based register to plan their visit and service delivery schedules for women and children.


2-way feedback mechanism: Many a times no feedback is provided on information collected from facilities and service providers after processing of data. Data/information/reports are always sent up in the hierarchy. Feedback ensures data quality and reliability; it also builds up the sense of responsibility among service providers. HMIS portal under NRHM generates ‘Feedback reports’. The ‘Feedback reports’ provide status of achievement against a target, comparisons with facilities and time periods can also be made. Provision for reminders about service delivery due dates can also be made to the Service Providers  on their mobile phones to assist them with their work.

At every level, an effective HMIS should help us answer six classical epidemiological questions: Who, What When, Where, Why, and How about the health status of the people. Service Providers such as ANMs or Medical Officers will probably be interested in fewer data elements that they can use as indicators. Some may find indicators confusing. However, it is empowering for the Service Providers to understand the utility of HMIS in programme planning and resource allocation. This higher level of understanding improves competency and ability of Service Providers in programme planning and management at all levels.

Health Management Information System (HMIS)


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