Interoperability for linking service statistics and HR databases, or any database, for that matter, has to start with a SHARED Master Facility List (MFL). So often systems are created, where they create a new unique identifier, or even don’t use a Unique ID number, but just have the facility name and what District it is in to go on. Trying to match facility records between databases is without a SHARED Unique Identifier is often very problematic.
For instance, in Nigeria, MEASURE Evaluation conducted a data collection survey in 2014 that collected facility name, State, LGA (District), type and ownership information for over 34,000 public and private health facilities. From another source, geo-coordinates (latitude/longitude) for over 24,000 health facilities had been collected, but there was no common identifier that could be used to easily link these 2 sources of data. Even the LGA names were problematic to match with over 60 LGA where the spelling of the name was different between the 2 data-sets. After resolving the LGA names, an attempt to match facilities between the 2 lists based on the name was attempted, but only about 1700 facilities had matching names. So now the task of individual matching of the rest of the sites is obviously a tedious and very time-consuming activity.
The moral of this story – establish a Unique Identifier for health Facilities that is SHARED among all stake-holders, and put a plan in place to manage the update of the Master Facility List.