Another soft implementation of HIMS at Teaching Hospital Batticaloa – Health Information Unit

Another soft implementation of HIMS at Teaching Hospital Batticaloa


The provincial general hospital, Batticaloa was upgraded as teaching hospital in November 2006 to cater the training needs of medical students from eastern university. The teaching hospital, Batticaloa is one of the major tertiary care institutions in the eastern province serving a population of more than two million people living in the eastern province as well as in the adjoining districts.  This hospital undertakes the training of undergraduates and post-basic nursing officers from faculty of health care sciences of eastern university and postgraduates from the postgraduate institute of medicine, university of Colombo. Nurse’s training school, Batticaloa is a part of this hospital where nurses and midwives are getting trained to deliver the health care services in the island.

The Teaching Hospital Batticaloa is a tertiary Care Hospital with bed strength of about 1150. The Hospital is treating annually about 98,000 to 115,000 patients in wards and about 200,000 patients at the Outpatient Department. About 300,000 patients receive Medical Care from several Clinics conducted in the Hospital annually. The hospital is performing around 9000 major surgeries and 11000 minor surgeries annually. There are about 7000 deliveries per year at our hospital. Nearly one million laboratory examinations and 80000 X-rays are performed annually.

Implementing electronic HIMS

Hospital Information Management System (HIMS) is a comprehensive electronic system to support functions carried out in hospitals, developed by the Ministry of Health. It is interconnected with the eIMMR and provides automated information on quarterly basis. The system is being developed at National Cancer Institute as an in-house development. The project management and the technical support is given by a group of doctors, who are trained medical Informaticians, blending the essence of clinical experience with digital innovation. HIMS is running successfully in more than seven tertiary care hospitals in Sri Lanka.

The ultimate aim of the system is to provide fully integrated care to the public by generating the clinical information needed for a life-long, longitudinal electronic health record system in a cost-effective manner. One of the icons of implementation is the use of re-skilled hospital staff, empowered with IT knowledge to carry out vital functions minimizing the operational cost. HIMS includes admission, discharge and transfer module (ADT), OPD module, pharmacy module, laboratory module and radiology modules. Also it comes with the administrative dashboard which is capable of showing a high level summary of clinical and non-clinical information vital for managerial decisions.

The hospital had the version 1 of the Hospital Health Information Management System (HHIMS v1) since 2009 as the pioneer implementation of the electronic systems in the hospitals of Sri Lanka by the Swiss Red Cross. This system never looked after by the relevant authorities in the hospitals until October 2019. The HHIMS v1 had many issues that affected our hospital in continuing further such as issuing same BHT numbers when two admission officers make registration of patients at a time. Therefore we contacted the health information unit for the replacement of the system and we got the permission for implementing the HIMS

The new HIMS is used for registering new patients who are getting admitted to wards by issuing the Personal Health Numbers (PHN) which coded and printed on Plastic Cards. These cards were issued for all new patients since 1st of January 2020. We got down 10 series of Point of Issue numbers from the health information unit of ministry of health, and we are using currently 3 of them for registering patients at admission desk.  When we expand our system for OPD and Clinics we will utilize rest of them.

Following the registration and admission at admission desk patients are admitted to wards by the nursing officers at the wards and then discharged or transferred between wards as necessary.

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