The Past And The Future
With the release of DHIS 2.x and its rapid development, along with the obvious advantages of a centralised database structure resulting more-rapid data delivery and turnaround to reporting, HISP is winding down its development of DHIS 1.4. In addition to the power and advantages offered by DHIS 2, Microsoft® Office 2013 and Office 365TM are not backwards-compatible to DHIS 1.4, and as such it would require significant time and resources to redevelop the system to modern Office standards.
For these reasons, the HISP-SA executive have decided not continue development of DHIS 1.4 beyond a certain point. That exact date has not been decided yet, but will most likely be within the next two years. HISP South Africa will notify all of our customers, partners and the relevant stakeholders well in advance of this time – and it is entirely likely that HISP will continue to support DHIS 1.4 for some time thereafter, as we migrate our customers to DHIS 2.
DHIS 1.4 is a health information management tool written in Microsoft® Access® and Visual Basic® for Applications. It runs on most Microsoft® Windows® platforms – Windows® XP up to Windows® 8.0 is supported – and Microsoft® Office 2003 / 2007 / 2010. DHIS 1.4 is open-source, and users are free to modify, translate or derive works based on the source code (with provisions – the full license agreement can be read here).
The DHIS functions as a data collection, aggregation and reporting tool; as such, it forms a key element in HISP’s stated mission – that of “supporting integration of information systems through open standards…”
DHIS 1.4 uses a distributed database model – meaning that each instance of DHIS has its own local database (data file), stored in the DHIS 1.4 folder. It can rapidly switch between data files, into which raw (i.e. unprocessed) routine data gets captured.
Once data is captured, it is exported to the “data mart”, at which time indicators are calculated automatically and stored with the data. The number of data and data mart files is limited only by the space available on the PC that DHIS is installed on.
The DHIS also has a number of features to improve data quality, such as:
Min/Max Data Entry – captured data can be evaluated against minimum/maximum expected values:
- When you enter a value which falls outside the range, i.e. it is either lower than the minimum value or higher than the maximum value, a warning box displays.
- DHIS can “learn” min/max values as data is captured, adjusting them automatically, or they can be manually set.
Rules-based Validation – data can be validated using absolute and/or statistical rules:
- Absolute rules apply when one value cannot be higher than another e.g. if Child under 5 years weighed is 234, then the PHC headcount under 5 years cannot be 225.
- Statistical rules are more flexible and are designed to ensure that the ratios between data elements are not transgressed e.g. children with diarrhoea is correlated with headcount for children under 5 years. If the headcount goes up, one would expect the number of cases of diarrhoea to increase as well in the same proportion. The statistical rule follows the pattern and will identify outliers. Statistical rules act as a pointer of possible discrepancies in the data or increasing incidences of diseases.
Gap and Outlier Analysis – identify missing records or outliers using this feature:
- Identify problem data, view the data and select gaps, and view the missing records and accept the records to be identified, or follow similar steps to have DHIS mark outlier records for follow-up.
- Data Integrity Checks allow for the checking of data files for commonly occurring errors, and a detailed report of violations is displayed for user correction/action.
Highly configurable and generic in its design, DHIS 1.4 supports user-definable data-elements, data-sets, and indicators using an organisational hierarchy structure of up to 8 levels deep. The DHIS is capable of storing and reporting on population data, semi-permanent data, meta-data and now features a Standards-based assessment system, developed for South Africa. With standardised outputs in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word and other common formats, data can be aggregated and transformed into “spread-marts”. Features include spreadsheet output, pivot-table integration, ad-hoc reporting and data-quality metrics generation.
DHIS 1.4 requires Microsoft® Access® 2003/2007/2010, preferably as part of the Microsoft® Office suite (since Excel® is used for pivot-tables and some reporting features). HISP supports Microsoft® Windows® XP, Vista®, Windows® 7 and 8.0 running any combination of the above and 32-bit Microsoft® Office 2003/2007/2010. Although the DHIS does run on Windows® 8.1, HISP does not offer support for it yet.
DHIS 1.4 does NOT run on 64-bit Office, but 64-bit Windows® versions (using 32-bit Office) are supported for Windows Vista® up.
Proper usage of the DHIS also requires that your Windows® and Office versions are up-to-date, and that the latest service packs are installed. Please note: HISP does not supply or support Windows® or Office. Updates of these components are the responsibility of the respective relevant party.
Refer to the table below to see if your combination of Windows® and Office is supported:
Versions And Upgrades
From version 188.8.131.52 the DHIS switched to using a new open-source installer (Inno Setup). The new installer allows those with an Internet connection to download and apply required service packs and updates to their Windows and Office systems on-the-fly. At the same time, the standard Text editor bundled with the DHIS was changed to Notepad++, and a number of the supporting applications were updated. The new installer also allows more data files to be packaged onto the install medium, after-the-fact, if so desired.
The ModuleFiles updates are unchanged, however it should be noted that there will be no ModuleFiles update for version 184.108.40.206 – users on older versions MUST use the installer to update their system. Subsequent releases are planned to have corresponding ModuleFiles updates as usual.
All users of older versions are recommended to update to version 220.127.116.11 at least, as several bugs and issues have been addressed in this release. In addition, with the release of 18.104.22.168 a new install option is available; an expanded ISO file is available for download which contains all of the additional tools, service packs, updates and supplemental software.
Instructions for using this ISO can be found on the FAQ page.
Installing the DHIS is a simple process; the installer takes care of most of the work, however it is important that the installer has full administrative authority in order to properly integrate the DHIS into the Office/Windows® environment. This is a standard Windows® requirement, just like installing any other software. As a result, the User logged into Windows® and running the installer MUST have administrative rights. If you are unsure what that means, consult your system administrator.
Note that it is not sufficient to “Run the Program as another User” or to run the installer from a limited User’s account and temporarily give the profile administrative rights; this is because the installer must update Windows® and Office, as well as install other accompanying / supportive software, such as 7-zip and Notepad ++. To properly install, log out of the limited account and log in with an account with administrative rights. In such a case, it will also be necessary to run the DHIS at least once from the Windows® administrator profile, as the DHIS needs to make changes to the system’s registry the first time it runs. Thereafter, you can log out of the admin profile and log back in using a limited account and run the DHIS.
If you are unsure about how to proceed, or are having problems installing the DHIS, please log a request for assistance using our Support page – click on the button below.