Health information at your fingertips
The brand new WHO European Health Information Gateway is now available to the public, providing curated, reliable health data and information presented in formats that are easy to understand and compare and that are easy to extract.
This mine of health information features an interactive section, currently including data sets and country profiles from the Health 2020 monitoring framework and HBSC (Health Behaviour in School-age Children) surveys. New data and data from existing WHO/Europe databases are being added continually. In addition, the Gateway offers data and notes about indicators from the Health for All database, the Health 2020 monitoring framework and environment and health indicators.
Some of the data are from official WHO sources and WHO/Europe's joint data collections with partner organizations (European Commission and OECD), and others are from sources such as UNESCO and UNDP.
Come, mine with us!
The Gateway was initially launched internally. One of the many early adopters was Martin Weber, head of the Child and Adolescent Health programme. He commented: "The Gateway differs from other data sources on the WHO/Europe website in that you can customize what data you want to see, set comparisons and extract a snapshot of a health situation. You can even post it straight to social media."
A mobile app accompanies the Gateway, making the latest health information available on your phone or tablet device.
The Gateway also provides an API (application programming interface) for data analysts, programmers and data scientists, who will be able to access the data when programming data dashboards and to work with the latest available data.
Why is health information important?
The term "health information" refers to all the information, data and evidence on health that facilitates policy-making. This is distinct from "patient information", which individuals might seek to help them maintain the best standard of health. Health information is a crucial element in WHO/Europe's efforts to reduce health inequalities in the Region. Where there is health inequality, health information tends to be missing or incomplete. In other words, public health authorities do not have the information they need.
Although a wealth of information, data and evidence exists within the European Region, it is often scattered, incomplete and difficult to access. The aim of the European Health Information Initiative (EHII) is to remedy this, with the Gateway as a key tool. The EHII has 21 members, representing Member States and public health partners operating in six key areas:
- generating information for health and well-being, with a focus on indicators;
- improving access to and dissemination of health information;
- strengthening health information networks;
- supporting development of health information strategies; and
- enhancing communication and advocacy.