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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versão impressa ISSN 0256-9574


HUBER, A N et al. Leveraging routine data in impact evaluation: Understanding data systems in primary healthcare prior to a matched cluster-randomised evaluation of adherence guidelines in South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2022, vol.112, n.10, pp.819-827. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: An essential part of providing high-quality patient care and a means of efficiently conducting research studies relies upon high-quality routinely collected medical information OBJECTIVES: To describe the registers, paper records and databases used in a sample of primary healthcare clinics in South Africa (SA) with the view to conduct an impact evaluation using routine data METHODS: Between October 2015 and December 2015, we collected information on the presence, quality and completeness of registers, clinical stationery and databases at 24 public health facilities in SA. We describe each register and type of clinical stationery we encountered, their primary uses, and the quality of completion. We also mapped the ideal flow of data through a site to better understand how its data collection works RESULTS: We identified 13 registers (9 standard, 4 non-standard), 5 types of stationery and 4 databases as sources of medical information within a site. Not all clinics used all the standardised registers, and in those that did, registers were kept in various degrees of completeness: a common problem was inconsistent recording of folder numbers. The quality of patient stationery was generally high, with only the chronic patient record being considered of varied quality. The TIER.Net database had high-quality information on key variables, but national identification (ID) number was incompletely captured (42% complete). Very few evaluation sites used electronic data collection systems for conditions other than HIV/AIDS CONCLUSION: Registers, databases and clinical stationery were not implemented or completed consistently across the 24 evaluation sites. For those considering using routinely collected data for research and evaluation purposes, we would recommend a thorough review of clinic data collection systems for both quality and completeness before considering them to be a reliable data source

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