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Strengthening Health Information Systems

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Better measurement and accountability for results

Improve governance
Invest in data sources
Align stakeholders
Use the digital revolution
Strengthen the capacity
Use data to improve policy
Strengthen accountability
WHO has identified seven strategic areas for action to strengthen national health information systems.
1

Improve governance: HIS strengthening requires an enabling environment and robust collaboration between health and other sectors, including ICT.

2

Invest in data sources and capacities: These investments strengthen health information workforce skills and capacities for using health statistics and data.

3

Align stakeholders in support of health information systems: Development partners and national institutions should align their investments. Data, monitoring and accountability should be integrated into one plan and one budget for the health sector aligned with the health SDGs.

4

Use the digital revolution: The power of information and communication technology (ICT) innovation can help improve the availability, completeness, timeliness, quality, and use of data for decision-making in health. Minimising the burden of data collection, analysis and reporting through eHealth strategies can improve health service delivery and management.

5

Strengthen the capacity for systems and applications to be reusable: Promote the use of scalable, affordable, open access software systems and develop common health information architecture, standards, guides, tools and solutions.

6

Use data to improve policy and service delivery: With focus on equity, disaggregated data and access to need-based, good quality services, health information should be provided to decision-makers at all levels for improving health policy, system and services.

7

Strengthen accountability and reporting of results: There should be national oversight mechanisms for key indicators of national health targets, and goals and mechanisms for regular transparent reviews to assess progress against national health sector targets.

UNDP’s Offer

UNDP works with national entities to strengthen the full health information system, including:

  • Assessing the country requirements based on the national health strategy and priorities.
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  • Support the development of national Health Information Strategies.
  • Support the assessment of where ICT can deliver better data and information for decision makers.
  • Assess needs for other elements of a comprehensive HIS, such as Logistics Management Information Systems or Human Resource Management Information Systems.
  • Strengthen the health workforce.
  • Strengthen reporting and communication of results.
Innovation: Electronic health records help deliver better quality of care

The format of health records varies widely. In many countries service providers use paper-based records in the form of patient charts or registries, although some are now transitioning to electronic records.

Electronic patient records have numerous advantages for accurately recording, efficiently storing and retrieving, and transferring information between healthcare providers. The use of health Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), particularly electronic health records, can help to deliver better quality of care, reduce medical errors and streamline administration.

Strengthening ICT systems can support the strengthening of health information systems. There must be a joint effort between IT, clinicians, and coders so that information in patient health records and disease registries is transformed into useful data for decision making.

Figure: WHO: Digital Health Interventions; 2018

Suggested Indicators

  • National Health Information Strategy in place
  • Comprehensiveness of health data capture: prevalence, incidence, qualitative social and behavioural data, disaggregated by age and gender
  • Percentage of districts that submit timely, complete and accurate reports to national level
  • Level of use of data collection systems for studies and evaluations
  • Level of integration of health data into management and forecasting reports and processes
  • Percentage of evaluations completed per plan
  • Availability and transparency of data for management and partner review
  • Availability and use of policies and procedures

Guidance & Tools