This paper discusses the development and design of a new database on health care facilities worldwide from its initial planning stage to its first few months of operation, during which time it was used by many of the UK's major companies. It outlines the practical problems that were encountered in establishing and operating the database and how these were overcome. Problems associated with identifying the needs of end users to the difficulty of collecting and evaluating information are discussed.
The database provides information on medical facilities in over one hundred and twenty five countries in the developing world and should prove a useful tool to all those involved in managing medical problems overseas. The growing awareness of the need to assess health facilities abroad has been spawned by the increasing spread of AIDS and the growing demand from employees for better health care management while overseas.
We believe that the establishment of this health care facilities database is an important first step in the creation of an independent network of accredited health facilities worldwide.