Welcome to the Implementation Starter Kit page, which provides useful information, training resources, and tools to get you started with installing and deploying openIMIS in your system. We have compiled these resources with the aim of providing an overview of the requirements of the system and walk you through learning tools we have at hand as your organization takes the openIMIS path to digitalizing your business processes.
openIMIS is an application to process health financing scheme information. It connects beneficiary, provider and payer data to manage core data from patient’s registration to transmission of services data and verification of financial claims for services.
When implementing openIMIS it is important to look at the bigger picture to see where policy, process, practice, and technology come together. This holistic view will enable you to assess what type of changes (policy, process, or technology) need to happen at each level of the implementation process and how these impact each other. Decisions can then be made on the approach to openIMIS implementation (design and planning) which will impact on customisation/configuration requirements and the project timelines and budget.
Within the context of openIMIS we recommend that implementation includes: resource planning, workflow review, system (openIMIS) deployment, training/capacity building, and change management. This page is relevant with regard to training/capacity building and offers assessment tools as a prerequisite to resource planning.
Support of the openIMIS Global Initiative
While providing recommendations for implementation approach the openIMIS Global Initiative does not implement openIMIS itself. The openIMIS Global Initiative focuses on developing and maintaining the openIMIS software, building an open source community, and promoting openIMIS as an open source option for health financing in low resource settings. The openIMIS Global Initiative provides the openIMIS software free of charge, as well as providing advice on how to conduct requirements gathering processes and implementation methodologies.
The openIMIS Global Initiative does not provide direct support for country level requirements definition or operational costs of using openIMIS system. Your organisation will need to make the investment or find partners in further advancing the adoption of openIMIS in your system.
The implementation steps indicated are part of an ideal approach that we would suggest. Some steps can be undertaken in parallel but ideally the stages of Assessment & Planning, Adaptation, Pilot, and Scale-up should be undertaken in the given sequence.
The steps outlined in the Implementation Steps page go beyond just the customization and implementation of the openIMIS software. They also concern other factors which have impacted the implementation time frame in the past. These factors include but are not limited to:
The scale of the roll out (communities, villages, regions, or nationwide)
The number of actors involved in the implementation
The establishment of appropriate policies and insurance entity
Hence it is difficult to suggest the ideal time frame for rolling out the software.
In Tanzania the system was introduced in one region (seven districts) in stages starting in 2012 and subsequently rolled out over the course of 2013. The insurance scheme continues to evolve since including development of new modules leading to continuous iteration of some of the implementation steps above. In 2016 within around four to six months (including entry of legacy data), the solution was rolled out in two new regions which transitioned from an existing scheme to a reformed scheme including openIMIS. In Cameroon the scheme was rolled out on a smaller scale (only web solution and some offline installations without the mobile phone component) across two administrative regions in around three months from the point of selection of the solution to training and roll out. In Nepal a time frame of around seven months was foreseen for finalizing the design aspects to rolling out a new national scheme (and hence the software) in a couple of districts, which in reality was stretched quite significantly due to political changes and delays in set up of the accompanying structure and policy framework.
Assessing Readiness to openIMIS
To utilize openIMIS optimally, it is best to start by outlining and describing your organisation’s processes, particularly, how information is or shall be processed. The software’s functionality can be customised and user roles defined based on your organisation’s procedures and offered services and in accordance to your policies on how to manage claims. We suggest that you use the Scheme Analysis template in reflecting on your business processes and the appropriateness and relevance of openIMIS to your system.
As part of the implementation and planning process it is important to consider that the implementation of openIMIS may require some regulatory amendments for electronic processing of data. This could have an implication on the health financing/insurance act or any legal basis of your system.
It will come as no surprise that implementing and operating openIMIS will require the allocation of adequate resources. The resources necessary to optimally run openIMIS are listed in Resource requirements, and for your convenient use we have also developed a Costing Tool, which you can use to estimate how these resources translate in monetary terms.
Once your organisation makes the decision and commitment to adopt openIMIS for your business process, it helps to know what you will need to work on in installing and deploying the platform. The Rapid Appraisal toolkit will help you determine your readiness to openIMIS and the gaps you will still need to address prior to embarking on the system change.
During the preparatory work as your organisation goes through the process of defining and analysing the digitalisation needs of your system and determining how this can be addressed by openIMIS, an external consulting support might be helpful, to define roles and actors from the insurance body, relevant ministries (Health, Finance) and involve key stakeholders of insurance implementation. As the platform would require the buy in not only of your organisation’s staff but often the government leadership or other principal, it helps to have a guideline on how you could approach communicating and advocating for openIMIS among key actors. We have drafted a Communication Strategy that can be customised to fit your needs. This is a working document that would benefit from your feedback and revisions.
Introduction of openIMIS would ideally be initiated once all legal and operational procedures of the insurance scheme are defined and approved.
As with other capacity building (CB) programmes, it is best to start with the identification of staff who are key to the installation and roll out of openIMIS and assess their capacity level with regard to IT systems and digital technology. This will allow you to customise your CB according to the specific needs of your organisation. In general, we consider the programme to have the aim of attaining proficiency among relevant personnel in the use of the openIMIS platform towards integration of the system to standard business processes. OpenIMIS has the potential to bring about significant efficiency gains in your business processes and it is immensely valuable if your key staff are aware of and invested in these gains so that they take part in driving the change.
Those implementing the change to digitialising your system can be broken down into three main categories consisting of managers, administrators, and users. Your organisation’s CB programme would need to incorporate learning objectives specific to them as the roll out of openIMIS will rely heavily on their knowledge and application of the platform. To ensure that your CB and training activities deliver on learning results for your key staff, we suggest that your specific CB objectives refer to their working understanding of the functionality of the platform and their ability to navigate and use the application with ease. It is also important that your CB programme achieve technical competency amongst your key staff to deploy and customise openIMIS to your business processes.
Together in the openIMIS Global Initiative, we have been developing training packages for different audiences at every organizational level. We have compiled the training packages to serve as a menu for you to choose from according to what is applicable to your organisation and what has been established as your CB needs. The table below provides a list of materials that are available in this Wiki and the recommended staff for whom these materials might be relevant. Although a number of the materials are self-instructive, there is need for customisation of the materials especially when it is time to install and deploy openIMIS. This means that training on local operations would have to be done aligned with your own openIMIS application manual, which you would need to develop specific to your organisation.
You can use the table below as a base to build your organisation’s CB plan. When ready, you are welcome to run the introductory training packages with your key staff. We will be interested to hear your feedback. While Part A is more generic, Part B and C of the CB plan would have to be customised to your situation. We have shared examples of different customizations of Part B for your reference.
Learning Objective: (Recommended)
The CB plan has the overall objective of attaining proficiency among relevant personnel of the agency in the use of the openIMIS platform towards integration of the system to standard business processes. It has a two-step objective of:
Providing orientation about the functionality of the platform and hands-on feeling on its use and application; and,
Deployment of openIMIS by technically competent staff towards customisation of the system to business processes.
Steps to follow to complete the country localisation process
Will need to be supplemented with in-person training
C. Follow through sessions
The designation of master trainers to mentor and coach staff is an effective way to ensure that knowledge and skills acquired are applied and competently put to use. When conducting the training, it is ideal to identify talented power users who can eventually be tapped to train and oversee the rollout of the platform to the peripheral levels. Your CB plan must therefore include an approach to monitor performance against defined indicators using regular supervisory checks, coaching and mentoring.