The national primary data collection and reporting tools for laboratory data are paper based. While paper based health Management Information System (HMIS) data collection is affordable in the national health system, there is always a tradeoff between the size of the tool and the amount of information needed to satisfy clinical and public health needs. Review processes for paper based HMIS tools usually becomes lengthy and roll out is costly due to print, distribution and reprint requirements. The national specimen referral network as an innovation to bring services close to the people has presented an urgent need for timely, accurate and reliable data transfer systems to overcome the inconsistencies associated with paper based tools and reduce turnaround time (TAT).
Making use of electronic information systems across the health laboratory network will address these challenges. Over the past five years, CPHL has coordinated stakeholders in development and review of the national laboratory data tools to suit clinical and public health requirements. Ongoing efforts in the development of a national health laboratory information system (HLIMS) will enable linkage of national referral laboratories to lower level health facilities. The move will facilitate efficient sample and results relay and effective monitoring of laboratory operations for timely decision making.