Chapter 4: Defining the vision for harmonized and interoperable information systems for heatlh in Europe

Reliable and timely health information is the foundation of effective public health action, working towards the goal of universal health coverage. It is imperative for countries aiming to use their limited resources wisely (108). Data and information are needed to inform policy decisions, in the design of programme interventions, and for monitoring and evaluation but may be unavailable or not fit for purpose. The rapid provision of reliable information is equally key to dealing with emergent diseases and other acute health events, ultimately saving lives.

There are three key elements that, if designed well, interlink to provide the high quality and relevant evidence required to advance meaningful public health action. These are health information, health research and knowledge translation and are discussed in this chapter, followed by a discussion of the initiatives being taken by WHO and its Member States at the regional level to encourage a harmonized and interoperable information system for Europe that will underpin sustainable change to achieve the goals of Health 2020 and the SDGs.