Advanced course drills deeper into using health information for policy

WHO/Damir Begović

Some 30 participants gathered in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for the annual Advanced Course on Health Information and Evidence for Policy-making. The Advanced Course is a regular follow-up to the Autumn School, WHO/Europe’s flagship training course on health information and a significant capacity-building activity of the WHO European Health Information Initiative (EHII).

The Advanced Course provides more in-depth training on the subjects covered in the Autumn School. Through these multiday workshops, the EHII helps countries to focus on health information as a key aspect of implementing Health 2020.

The topics for the week-long Advanced Course were selected by the participants themselves and covered a wide range of topics related to health information systems, including:

  • strengthening electronic health (eHealth) and eHealth strategy development;
  • interpreting and prioritizing differing data sources in health information systems;
  • measuring well-being and using qualitative methods;
  • developing issue briefs based on health information and research to improve knowledge translation and bridge the gap between knowing and acting; and
  • communicating health information effectively.

The Advanced Course brought together public health experts from a wide variety of backgrounds, including academic, ministerial and institutional. Whenever possible, it used real scenarios and data as a basis for discussion.

Throughout the sessions, instructors encouraged participants to link what they learned to their national health information systems and eHealth. This ensured that they took home insights and solutions that were directly applicable to their national situations.

Ms Kristina Köhler from the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs said: “The Autumn School and the Advanced Course provide an opportunity for me to think strategically about areas of my everyday work, and allow me to concentrate my thinking in a systematic way on key aspects of a health information system. It is a really motivating and inspiring course that helps me to do my work even better.”

The Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation at WHO/Europe organized the Advanced Course. Director Dr Claudia Stein said: “What makes the Advanced Course so special is the high engagement of the participants who dive into every assignment, and the generosity of the Member States who offer hosting for each event. It is wonderful to see such commitment and support for health information and evidence-informed policy-making in Europe.”