Latest Version of iHRIS Improves Data Security and Quality, Empowers Health Workers
IntraHealth announces the release of iHRIS 4.1, the first major release of the software in two years. The release includes new features of iHRIS Manage and iHRIS Qualify—the core products of the open source suite of software—that improve data security, better support decentralized health systems, and give health workers access to their own data.
iHRIS is a suite of web-based, open source software that supplies health-sector leaders with information to track, manage, and plan the health workforce. It is specifically designed for use by ministries of health, professional health councils, and other organizations in low-resource countries. Using iHRIS, managers and other decision-makers can identify health workforce issues and plan interventions. Adaptation of open standards, such as SDMX-HD, ensures iHRIS data can be shared with the larger health information system (HIS). The iHRIS software has had 22 minor releases since 4.0 was released in July 2009.
IntraHealth’s global project, CapacityPlus, supports the core development of the software while several other IntraHealth projects customize the software for specific country needs and contribute new features.
It is common for a country’s central Ministry of Health to distribute human resources functions, like recruitment or hiring, to the regional or district levels of the health system. iHRIS needed to align with decentralization policies by allowing for decentralized updates while protecting data security. For example, human resources managers at a district health office can, with the new release, directly update records for those health workers in their district.
iHRIS now allows users to be associated with a specific region, district, or even a facility, and to perform specific tasks related to maintaining and updating health worker records within that locale. For example, a district hospital can now manage the participation of its health workers in national training programs while having the data available to arrange coverage for the planned absences caused by these programs. This type of planning is not easy when data is updated only at the central level. This locale-based enhancement will also help to increase data quality and further encourage use of the software for the daily management of health workers.
Supporting individual health workers
Health workers depend on the support of country health leaders for access to education and resources, and health workers have a right to equitable access to opportunities for training, promotion, and other benefits. The new versions of iHRIS Qualify and Manage enable health workers themselves to collaborate in keeping their own information current and track and plan their career development.
iHRIS now has self-service capabilities, allowing health workers to access their own records online and submit necessary changes. For instance, a health worker can log into her country’s iHRIS system and submit a name change or check her available maternity leave. She can even submit information about a newly attained certification. This gives the health worker participatory ownership over her own record while improving the accuracy of data that could affect her eligibility for benefits or professional opportunities.
Similarly, health workers interested in a different post, newly certified health workers, and health workers looking to return to the profession can review the list of open positions in iHRIS. If they are interested in a position, they can create an account on iHRIS and enter in their details, such as their name, e-mail, phone number, and resume. They can then proceed to add themselves to the applicant pool, simplifying the application and recruitment process.