BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
The Association of Health Records Practitioners of Nigeria (AHRPN) has expressed concern over the continuous engagement of non-professional in the handling of health data in health facilities and other institutions in the country.
President of the association Barrister Okereke Jerry Nwani, said over 60 per cent of personnel employed in health facilities across the country are not qualified to handle health data.
Nwani stated this during the National Health Information Management System Conference organised by the association in collaboration with the Health Records Officers Registration Board Nigeria (HRORBN) and Cademy Limited, held in Abuja.
He said “More then 60 per cent of people who are engaged to handle data are not professionals and it makes it difficult because they will not know when and what to collect.
“Data collection is not just copying out information, there are other things like data clacidficatin, knowing what to classify, how to classify it, and identifying the homogeneity. Unless you are trained as a professional, you may not have the knowledge to do the right thing, so it a fact that most health institutions are engaging non-professionals to handle data and that is the bame of data challenge in the country.
According to Nwani, the law establishing the profession has defined who should handle data so if the chief executives of health institutions – from primary, secondary and tertiary should appreciate the essence of data and ensure that only qualified and trained personnel are engaged, the problem of data in the country will be a thing of the past.
“There will always be gaps in data management until policy makers and implementers appreciate the need to use professionals,” he cautioned.
The registrar, Health Records Officers Registration Board of Nigeria (HRORBN),
Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Mami, noted that Health Information Management was a very important and powerful tool in the healthcare industry now more than ever, in improving the health status of populations and, in the long term, for reducing healthcare costs.
“As a practicing HIM officer, I am very aware of the fact that an ever-increasing number of health care problems are successfully managed, control and even prevented today with availability of timely and reliable health information especially with the availability of more effective, more reliable and more robust health information products, he said.
Mami said that in the vision whereby Nigeria aspires to better health outcomes by 2022, the board has strived to put in place the prerequisite of international standards and practices so that the country is able to compete in the global arena.
He noted that Health Information Management Strategic framework (HIMSF) 2021 – 2025 has been developed in a context marked by a national demand for Electronic Health Records (EHR) and the trend of the pandemic to health care delivery.
“We are cognizant of the fact that it is not easy for research work done in many countries to attain global acceptance as the data produced must be in compliance with Good Clinical Practice (GCP). In view of this fact, Nigeria has taken steps to implement and support health care researches, along with other initiatives, to ensure acceptable data are produce and used for research purposes.
“We hope that the country health system which is being recognised as a member of Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adhered to the Mutual Acceptance Data (MAD) system, where NHIMS generate reliable, timely and accurate data acceptable in all OECD countries for health research, he explained.
This, Mami said will then enable the country’s health system gain better access to global markets and business opportunities in healthcare delivery.
Minister of state for health Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, said the country could not effectively go into a post COVID-19 era without addressing the challenges of quality data
Mamora, who was represented by the director, health planning research and statistics, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Ngozi Azodoh, said producing timely data has become an emergency in the COVID-19 era and that all hands must be on deck to ensure implementation of the National Health Information System Policy (NHISP) and strategic plan.