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Healthy Living in an Digital Era

Health sector is in the entering a new era, where digital technologies are increasingly complementing the existing service provision globally. There are numerous digital health initiatives taking place at present in both curative and preventive health care disciplines.

One of the main strategies in the Health informatics field is to have a digital health record for all citizens, which enable individuals to have a digital health profile which records socio demographic details and his or her basic clinical information, which can be shared across institutions appropriately. This helps the care providers to obtain accurate and up to date health related information about a person which comes valuable when clinical decision making.

There is an identified need in collecting relevant primary care information for delivery of patient centered care. Hence the need of developing a Primary Care Health Information system was initiated with the support of the Primary Health Care Systems Strengthening Project.

Hospital Health Information Management system (HIMS) is a digital intervention that facilitate the above need, owned by the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka. It was designed, developed and implemented by Health Informaticians at Ministry of Health.

As an add-on to the existing HIMS platform, the development of the Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) Module was completed. It was collaborative effort of the World Bank funded Primary Health Care Systems Strengthening Project, Health information unit and the Non communicable diseases unit. It is a part of the primary healthcare systems strengthening project. It was launched on 22.02.2019 by Hon. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

The NCD module of the HIMS system will be implemented throughout the country via Healthy Lifestyle Clinics (HLCs). The walk-in participants are able to get a free health screening for themselves by registering at the clinic. After registering the basic demographic data, the clinical parameters like the Height, weight, Body Mass Index, Blood pressure, Blood sugar and Serum Cholesterol values will be measured and entered to the system. More over the unhealthy habits of the person like smoking, Alcohol usage and beetle chewing are also inquired and entered in the system. Based on these parameters the system will calculate the “Cardio Vascular Disease risk” of the person, so that the properly individualized lifestyle modification advices and a suitable follow up plan can be delivered by the health care providers. 

From administrative perspective the system can generate different types analytics based on predefined and newly generated indicators for each administrative level namely of the national health system. This Intervention is expected to pave the path to develop, implement and scale up context appropriate digital health interventions in a low and middle income country (LMIC) like Sri Lanka and set examples to similar countries to use such digital health interventions to strengthen primary care information systems.

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