Exploring the Tools for Large-Scale Data Collection and Analysis in Clinical Practice in Africa. Developing Methodologies for Measurement of Patient Outcome
05 February 2020 (online)
The utilization of data collection systems and analysis tools is a key component of health information systems and used to formulate health policy and analyse operational efficiencies and health outcomes. In the quest to find scientific evidence to validate homeopathy, emphasis on the clinical outcome of homeopathic treatments as part of operational research is a valid and important contribution to homeopathic research.
Two homeopathy projects have been exploring ways in which evidence from clinical practice can support homeopathy in their countries for ten years. The Swaziland Homeopathy Project (SHP) and the Kenya School for Integrated Medicine (KSIM) have been collaborating in producing clinical evidence and together have over 10,000 cases in their database system.
SHP uses the Access database to evaluate outcomes, using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) which is a psychometric response scale that can be used in questionnaires. It also uses a Karnofsky/Lansky Performance Status to evaluate overall functionality. These scoring mechanisms were chosen to evaluate overall wellbeing and individual symptom scores in an African context. KSIM is working on a five-year project sponsored through the European Union with the Ministry of Health, Kenya. It has introduced an innovative data collection system based on DHIS2 (District Health Information System 2), an open-source software platform used by 55 countries worldwide. KSIM has adapted DHIS2 to homeopathy data collection, also using VAS and Karnofsky scores to evaluate homeopathic outcomes. Both data collection approaches (Access and DHIS2) are being evaluated and monitored for their efficiency and usefulness.
Each innovative data collection model has the potential to create a very large database of clinical outcomes in homeopathy. VAS and Karnofsky scores have been shown to be useful tools for evaluating clinical outcomes in an African country. Homeopathic outcomes show positive results, and developing an online data collection system with DHIS2 shows especial potential in clinical situations in Africa and beyond.
Keywords: Evidence, clinical outcomes, information systems