Factors influencing routine health management information use in public health facilities in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya.
Mucee, Elizabeth Munda
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Routine health management information systems are the foundations of all health systems which strengthen other five pillars hence, strengthening health systems performance. But despite their essential benefits, at the facility level, health workers commonly spend 40 percent or more of their time filling in Health Information Systems forms but may make little or no use of the information for decision making. Information use is determined by multiple factors ranging from technical, organizational and behavioural factors which were drawn from the theoretical framework. The objectives of the study were to determine the technical factors influencing Health Management Information use by health managers and information producers in the public health sector in Tharaka Nithi County; to establish the organizational factors influencing Health Management Information use by health managers and information producers in the public health sector in Tharaka Nithi County and to establish the behavioural factors influencing Health Management Information use by health managers and information producers in the public health sector in Tharaka Nithi County. A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 12 Dispensaries, three Health Centres and one Sub County Hospital in Tharaka Nithi County. Data was collected through researcher administered questionnaires and observation checklist. The respondents were purposely selected from the sampled public health facilities, which included 22 information producers and 53 users in Tharaka Nithi County. The study results identified a set of factors influencing health information use for each of the three categories of factors: technical factors (lack of staff competence at 74 (98.7%), multiple HIS tools at 74 (98.7%) and lack of computers at 74 (93.7%); organizational factors (lack of information use culture promotion at 73 (97.3%) lack of staff training in HIS skills at 69 (92%), and lack of support supervision on information use at 71 (94.7%) and behavioural factors (lack of staff motivation at 73 (97.3 %) and recognition for well done job at 74 (98.7%). The researcher concludes that, for health systems to use health information for evidence-based decisions, technical factors, organizational and behavioural factors must be provided to information producers and users in public health facilities in Tharaka Nithi County. The study recommends: To provide adequate positive technical factors in terms of competent personnel, computers and user-friendly HIS tools to enhance information use; To promote positive organizational factors in terms of promotion of information use culture, support supervision on HIS and support staff training in HIS skills to enhance information use; To initiate and implement motivation and recognition mechanisms in workers' accurate information for use in evidence-based decisions. The researcher suggests further studies to; establish other factors influencing health information use in the public health sector other than those covered by this study; establish interventions to enhance health information use in decision making in public health setting.