Pharmaceutical Management Information Systems. (MDS-3: Managing Access to Medicines and Health Technologies, Chapter 49)
(2012; 20 pages)


The planning process for a new or revised pharmaceutical supply system should include a pharmaceutical management information system (PMIS). The PMIS is an organized system for collecting, processing, reporting, and using information for decision making. Information for each subsystem is collected by means of -

  • Record-keeping documents, a combination of registers, ledgers, and filing systems that typically are not circulated
  • Information reporting forms, such as periodic status reports, that transmit data to other departments or levels for use in making management decisions
  • Feedback reports, also called analytical reports, that are usually provided to the units that collected the data

Design or revision of a PMIS should be based on the differing information needs of users at each level of the system and should build on existing forms, reports, and procedures as much as possible. Any forms should be designed through a participatory process and field-tested with staff who will use them.

Other issues to consider include -

  • Selection of indicators to monitor system performance and intended results (discussed in Chapter 48)
  • Integration of the PMIS with other data collection systems
  • Computerization at appropriate levels

A successful PMIS requires effective use of the information generated, which includes -

  • Efficient data processing to reduce large amounts of data to a manageable number of key indicators, often in summary tables
  • Presentation of information in graphic form to simplify interpretation
  • Interpretation of information to identify trends and potential problems
  • Appropriate use of technology (for example, e-mail, websites) to present and share information with a wider audience in less time
  • Action in response to both positive and negative results
  • Effective mechanisms to provide and receive feedback
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