Due to the fact that health care professionals in Malawi are often overstretched, the use and quality of health data can be compromised. The Malawi Health Management Information System (HMIS) has streamlined data collection and reporting and increased the use of data to improve care. Obstacles remain, including incomplete reporting and low staff morale. With the Baobab Health Trust and the Malawi Ministry of Health, Partners In Health piloted an innovative point-of-care data system for primary care that functions alongside OpenMRS, an open source medical record platform. The system has given access to a patient-level primary care dataset in real time. Initial results highlight some of the benefits of a point-of-care system such as improved data quality, emphasize the importance of sharing data with clinical practitioners, and shed light on how this approach could strengthen HMIS.
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