Chapter 4: New frontiers in health information and evidence
Some of the main problems with data collections used to inform the Health 2020 monitoring framework relate to data quality, regularity of collection and timeliness of reporting. Improvements in certification and coding practices will significantly strengthen the quality of cause-of-death data. Compliance by all Member States with the recommended level of detail of reporting to WHO would further increase the utility and comparability of indicators based on these data.
WHO and many countries have experienced a paradigm shift in public health from focusing on death and disease to focusing on health and well-being. More weight should be given in health information to subjective and qualitative data to ensure that it reflects this shift.
Exploring non-traditional sources of health information should be considered to improve reporting on health and well-being across the European Region. Historical records and anthropological observations may be useful sources of information on well-being. Data sources such as social media, mobile phone data and electronic health records can add new insights to regular health statistics.
Health 2020 monitoring should be optimized by looking beyond the usual indicators and broadening its scope to include concepts such as community resilience, empowerment and sense of belonging.
Broad international cooperation is required to tackle current health information challenges efficiently and sustainably. Countries should drive the priority-setting for such international research and development activities.
The European Health Information Initiative is a WHO network of stakeholders, including Member States, committed to enhancing health in the Region by improving the information that underpins policy. It supports the development of a single European health information system, as outlined in the Joint Declaration adopted by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the European Commission in 2010.