Title: A minimal e-referral for meaningful share of maternal health information in public health scenarios

Authors: Rohini R. Rao; Krishnamoorthi Makkithaya; Veena G. Kamath; Reena Cordeiro

Addresses: Department of Computer Applications, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, 576104, India ' Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, 576104, India ' Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, 576104, India ' Department of Computer Applications, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, 576104, India

Abstract: Primary health centres (PHCs) across India provide antenatal, delivery and postnatal healthcare to expecting mothers. In case the expecting mother suffers from a pregnancy-related medical condition that cannot be treated at the PHC, she is referred to the nearest specialist or secondary hospital. The objective of this paper is to present a minimal, affordable and interoperable extensible markup language (XML)-based electronic referral (e-referral) prototype. The e-referral system transfers patient information from the PHC to a specialist at any hospital, for pregnancy-related medical problems. A subject matter expert (SME) panel was formed to identify the minimal dataset and an optimal format for e-referrals in the maternal use case. The data quality of the proposed e-referral information was measured. The e-referral data structures were proven to be complete. The interoperability level achieved by the e-referral prototype was quantified. The minimal e-referral is human processable or syntactically interoperable. The XML-based e-referral data can be very easily integrated with existing hospital information systems.

Keywords: public health informatics; e-referrals; electronic referrals; maternal health information; interoperability; HISs; health information systems; electronic healthcare; e-healthcare; healthcare technology; India; primary health centres; PHCs; XML; patient information; data quality; pregnancy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEH.2015.075328

International Journal of Electronic Healthcare, 2015 Vol.8 No.2/3/4, pp.142 - 162

Available online: 15 Mar 2016 *

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