Implementing Electronic Health Records in Primary Care Using the Theory of Change: Nigerian Case Study.

Adedeji, Taiwo and Fraser, Hamish and Scott, Philip (2022) Implementing Electronic Health Records in Primary Care Using the Theory of Change: Nigerian Case Study. JMIR medical informatics, 10 (8). ISSN 2291-9694

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Digital health has been a tool of transformation for the delivery of health care services globally. An electronic health record (EHR) system can solve the bottleneck of paper documentation in health service delivery if it is successfully implemented, but poor implementation can lead to a waste of resources. The study of EHR system implementation in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is of particular interest to health stakeholders such as policy makers, funders, and care providers because of the efficiencies and evidence base that could result from the appropriate evaluation of such systems. We aimed to develop a theory of change (ToC) for the implementation of EHRs for maternal and child health care delivery in LMICs. The ToC is an outcomes-based approach that starts with the long-term goals and works backward to the inputs and mediating components required to achieve these goals for complex programs. We used the ToC approach for the whole implementation's life cycle to guide the pilot study and identify the preconditions needed to realize the study's long-term goal at Festac Primary Health Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. To evaluate the maturity of the implementation, we adapted previously defined success factors to supplement the ToC approach. The initial ToC map showed that the long-term goal was an improved service delivery in primary care with the introduction of EHRs. The revised ToC revealed that the long-term change was the improved maternal and child health care delivery at Festac Primary Health Center using EHRs. We proposed a generic ToC map that implementers in LMICs can use to introduce an optimized EHR system, with assumptions about sustainability and other relevant factors. The outcomes from the critical success factors were sustainability: the sustained improvements included trained health care professionals, a change in mindset from using paper systems toward digital health transformation, and using the project's laptops to collect aggregate data for the District Health Information System 2-based national health information management system; financial: we secured funding to procure IT equipment, including servers, laptops, and networking, but the initial cost of implementation was high, and funds mainly came from the funding partner; and organizational: the health professionals, especially the head of nursing and health information officers, showed significant commitment to adopting the EHR system, but certain physicians and midwives were unwilling to use the EHR system initially until they were persuaded or incentivized by the management. This study shows that the ToC is a rewarding approach to framing dialogue with stakeholders and serves as a framework for planning, evaluation, learning, and reflection. We hypothesized that any future health IT implementation in primary care could adapt our ToC approach to their contexts with necessary modifications based on inherent characteristics. [Abstract copyright: ©Taiwo Adedeji, Hamish Fraser, Philip Scott. Originally published in JMIR Medical Informatics (, 11.08.2022.]

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From PubMed via Jisc Publications Router ** History: received 14-09-2021; revised 25-03-2022; accepted 31-05-2022.
Uncontrolled Keywords: electronic health records, maternal and child health, theory of change, success criteria, primary health center
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Management and Health > Sport Health and Outdoor Education
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 15:08
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 16:35

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