Health Information Systems for Children at Risk in Honduras

I worked in Fall 2007 as an information systems architect with IHNFA, the Honduras department of child and family services, and Providence World Ministries, an orphanage in Siguatepeque, Honduras, to design a national system to facilitate adoptions and develop case files for children at risk. I wrote this white paper, HIS for Children at Risk in Honduras, to discuss unique factors of implementing the health component of a national child welfare information system in a resource-poor setting. This paper connects the research of Theo Lippeveld at John Snow International with recent international and national initiatives to reform child & family services.

A few facts about Honduras:

  • Population: 7.5 million
  • Approx. 200,000 orphans (2.7% of population)
  • 8 to 12% of persons under 18 live or work on the street
  • 9 Honduran children lose at least one parent due to HIV/AIDS every day
  • Chronic nutrition stagnated at 33%
  • 50% of population lives below poverty line
  • 30% unemployment rate

For those who have been waiting for a good summary of my work in Honduras, this is a good start. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


4 responses to “Health Information Systems for Children at Risk in Honduras

  1. Jon – great paper, very well written and concise. Look forward to connecting when you get back!

    – J.R.

  2. I agree. Good paper. So the bottom line seems to be that setting up an appropriate HIS would be far more cost-effective long term? Guess you just have to get past the initial stages of persuasion and funding.

  3. Robert England

    I found your very intriguing paper because I was looking at the Midtown Bible Church Nashville website and saw the connection to Honduras. I am very interested in both Honduras and using technology to make healthcare available to the poor. Good stuff.

  4. In response to Nate A., there is actually very little financial incentive to implement large health information systems. Implementation costs are so high and savings are typically difficult to measure and not realized in the near-term, that most consider a break-even implementation to be the best scenario. If you consider a typical EHR implementation at a large hospital in the US, it will cost around $200 million over 3 years. A very small amount (around $6 million) is the cost of software and development. Most goes towards training, planning, setup & installation (in a large distributed system, this is costly), and maintenance and support. The argument to deploy such a system, then, is not cost savings, but quality improvement. Or, in the case of Honduras, to extend the scope of the country’s reporting abilities.

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