An empirical investigation of health information system failure in regional Sri Lanka

Kaduruwane, Indika Ranasinghe (2012) An empirical investigation of health information system failure in regional Sri Lanka. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Public health decision making is critically dependant on accurate, timely and reliable information. There is a widespread belief that most of the national and sub-national health information systems fail in providing much needed information support for evidence based health planning and interventions. This situation is more acute in developing nations where resources are either stagnant or decreasing, coupled with the situations of demographic transition and double burden of diseases. Literature abounds with publications, which provide information on misguided health interventions in developing nations, leading to failure and waste of resources. Health information system failure is widely blamed for this situation. Nevertheless, there is a dearth of comprehensive evaluations of existing national or sub-national health information systems, especially in the region of South-East Asia. This study makes an attempt to bridge this knowledge gap by evaluating a regional health information system in Sri Lanka. It explores the strengths and weaknesses of the current health information system and related causative factors in a decentralised health system and then proposes strategic recommendations for reform measures. A mix methodological and phased approach was adopted to reach the objectives. An initial self administered questionnaire survey was conducted among health managers to study their perceptions in relation to the regional health information system and its management support. The survey findings were used to establish the presence of health information system failure in the region and also as a precursor to the more in-depth case study which was followed. The sources of data for the case study were literature review, document analysis and key stake holder interviews. Health information system resources, health indicators, data sources, data management, data quality, and information dissemination were the six major components investigated. The study findings reveal that accurate, timely and reliable health information is unavailable and therefore evidence based health planning is lacking in the studied health region. Strengths and weaknesses of the current health information system were identified and strategic recommendations were formulated accordingly. It is anticipated that this research will make a significant and multi-fold contribution for health information management in developing countries. First, it will attempt to bridge an existing knowledge gap by presenting the findings of a comprehensive case study to reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a decentralised health information system in a developing country. Second, it will enrich the literature by providing an assessment tool and a research method for the evaluation of regional health information systems. Third, it will make a rewarding practical contribution by presenting valuable guidelines for improving health information systems in regional Sri Lanka.

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ID Code: 50663
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Yarlagadda, Prasad & Chan, Taizan
Keywords: health information, health information management, health information systems
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Engineering Systems
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 May 2012 07:26
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:25

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