Assess your health information systems and strengthen your strategies with new support tool

Good health information makes a solid foundation for public health policy-making. In December 2013 WHO/Europe was requested by the Standing Committee of the Regional Committee, to help Member States to improve their national health information systems by developing strategies for national health information. This will make it easier to identify areas where action is required to address priorities for Health 2020, the overarching European policy framework.

A support tool has been developed based on existing tools from the former Health Metrics Network. The tool has been designed to accommodate the specific needs of the diverse situations of health information systems and strategies within the WHO European Region. The tool is very practical and  covers all stages of health information strategy development, starting by enabling the user to first assess their health information systems and moving on to strategy development and implementation to evaluation. It applies a stepwise approach and provides detailed guidance materials. 

The tool addresses all the different elements of health information systems, from governance to databases to resources, allowing flexible use. It also contains a chapter on resources for knowledge translation and evidence-informed policy making. Users can either apply the tool as a whole or pick out specific phases or elements that require particular attention or have priority in their national contexts.
The support tool was developed by a working group consisting of representatives of 17 Member States under the umbrella of the European Health Information Initiative (EHII). EHII is a multi-member WHO network committed to enhancing the health of the people in the European Region by improving the information that underpins policy. Support for health information strategy development is one of the key operational areas of EHII.

Hans van Oers, co-chair of the working group and Chief Science Officer of RIVM in The Netherlands said: "'There are increasing demands on health information systems and it's a challenging task to get to grips with complex systems like these in order to improve their outputs and increase their efficiency. This tool provides practical support for a hands-on approach, guiding its users through the different phases of health information strategy development. This tool will help strengthen the evidence base for health policy across the European region."