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Al-Shifa: Case study on Sultanate of Oman’s National Healthcare Information System
Objectives: Al-Shifa Healthcare Information System (HIS) is developed and being used by the ministry of health in Sultanate of Oman. This case study presents the evaluation of Al-Shifa on the standard dimensions of management information system, namely, organizational dimension, management dimension and information technology dimension. Methods/Statistical Analysis: This case study employs a focus group based qualitative approach. The member of IT department at the Sultan Qaboos Hospital, Salalah, Oman formed the members of the focus group. These members are responsible for the development, support and operations of Al-Shifa, hence, provided valuable insights on which the case study has been developed. Findings: Evaluation of Al-Shifa on the standard dimension of information systems, namely, organization, management and information technology reveals that on organizational and management dimension, Al- Shifa as an HIS stands well. However, it’s chosen and present IT infrastructure is effective but not efficient. One bottleneck in its efficiency is its client-server technology which has become obsolete. Client-Server technologies are ideal for a single organization, single location information system but it certainly shouldn’t have been a choice for a country level information system, especially given the availability of web technologies and cloud computing. Similarly, a single centralized database for the entire nation would have been an ideal but its absence leads to complicated and monotonous methods of information transfer and sharing. Few healthcare units still operate as an independent unit without networking& information sharing capabilities restricting integration with other centers. Application/Improvements: The focus group included staff of IT department; however, the views of end users are not incorporated. A separate study is needed in order to collect end user’s perspective of Al-Shifa.
Al-Shifa, Focus Group, Health Information System, National Healthcare Oman
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