Reflections on a hospital information committee support project in a rural hospital in South Africa

Mc Neill, Laura Mary Campbell, CP Blanchard


Background: This paper presents an overview of support offered to a hospital information committee by a Hospital Information Committee Support Project (HICSP) in a rural area of South Africa. A specific focus is on the support required at various stages of the project, which was underpinned by Change Theory: any change in practice should be an on-going, phased process (pre-contemplation, contemplation and action). Additionally, change must be seen as having some benefit.

Methods: A cross-sectional, mixed-methods evaluation was conducted to determine whether the project had met its aims and to explore participants’ experiences. Quantitative data included: number of meetings held, number of workshops held to develop templates, number of templates developed and in use, and number of action plans developed and implemented. Qualitative data included participants` views of the HICSP. In relation to Change Theory, data was analysed to summarise the type of support required during various stages of the HICSP.

Results: Quantitative data revealed that the aims of the HICSP were met. In accordance with Change Theory, support must be regularly provided and must be on-going over a relatively prolonged period of time. Qualitative data illustrated that, generally, the support given was considered to be appropriate and participants continued to collect, analyse, use and monitor data and information on completion of the HICSP.

Discussion and conclusions: The need for the strategic use of data at a local level to inform decision making and action is unquestionable. The study demonstrates that in an isolated, rural area an information committee can, in accordance with the stages of Change Theory, be supported and empowered so that hospital and nursing managers can confidently use data in a way that is locally meaningful and responsive.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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