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Training Information Monitoring System

The public health challenges faced by low-income countries are often overwhelming and have been further complicated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic); therefore, the resources dedicated to clinical training must be carefully planned and monitored to have the greatest impact. The Training Information Monitoring System (TIMSR) is a Microsoft Access-based database designed (by Jhpiego) to store information on training events and track the qualifications and skills of trained clinicians. In programs focusing on health services quality improvement in low-resource countries, developing and implementing training programs for healthcare workers—as well as tracking and monitoring training events, trainees and trainers—is critical.

                         

TIMS is a desktop software tool with accompanying paper-based data collection forms that is used to track and monitor training efforts. It uses a Microsoft Access database application to gather and store information about training courses, participants and trainers, including each person’s skills, qualifications and current facility, along with courses taken, courses taught and competencies achieved and maintained as assessed during follow-up visits.

 

TIMS is similar in concept to a registrar's system that one might find in a college or university. There are trainees (or students), trainers (or faculty), and training events (or courses). Trainees and trainers are associated with training events. Training events occur at training facilities (or classrooms). And so on. The registrar system analogy is probably valid for about 80% of TIMS. The other 20% relates to needs that are somewhat unique to international public health training, such as:

  • Capturing a trainee’s work affiliation to assist with planning;
  • Collecting donor-required information to help assure continued support; and
  • Following-up on trainees and where they are currently deployed to help assure appropriate balance and coverage

Developed in 1997, TIMS was initially for fairly centralized use in track training events, participants and trainer development. TIMS is now also used to generate reports about such things as who was trained in various skills in a given year or reporting period and which courses have been offered at a given training centre. There are over 60 standard reports included.

There have been some limitations of TIMS noted over the years, many related to computer or web access issues in developing countries. But given the rapid pace of technological innovation, it is likely that the TIMS application will soon be updated with an aim to address such limitations.