Strategic Direction Six: Improve Data for Impact

Reliable and timely health information is an essential foundation of public health action and health systems strengthening, both nationally and internationally62. The health sector needs real-time, reliable and actionable data. According to WHO, one of the key lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic is that countries need to invest in data and health information systems, as part of overall public health capacity63. An integrated and collaborative approach to information governance enables health organisations to effectively manage, maintain, and use data to improve health care quality and performance within and across organisational boundaries.

SD6 Outstanding Issues

Health Data Governance
Data governance is a set of principles and practices that ensures high quality throughout the completelifecycle of data. In MoH, there are no formal standards and SOPs to guide data management along the life cycle to safeguard the quality and privacy of health data. The roles and responsibilities of the different data processing units are poorly defined, and there are no coordination mechanisms in place. Measuring health is complex, and health care data is complex. There is a need to have governance principles to maximise the value of health data and to improve outcomes.

Healthcare data governance is the discipline of managing data as a strategic asset. It paves the way for data to support organisational priorities through the orchestration of people, processes, and technology. Data governance helps organisational leaders improve clinical, operational, and financial outcomes by focusing on enhanced decision-making. Importantly, data governance is an ongoing, enterprise-wide, cross-functional effort to optimise data for the benefit of patients, staff, and the community.

Electronic Health Information System (eHIS)
Data capture is primarily paper-based, using a variety of often duplicating reporting tools. Transitioning to an electronic health information system (eHIS) has been on MoH’s agenda for over a decade. In 2020, work started to implement an eHIS system; however, this has stalled. There is an urgent need to complete the implementation and move from a paper-based system to an electronic one.

The NHSP 2016-2020 objectives and expected outcomes were not achieved. The research unit in MoH remains very small; there is no policy to guide research and no specific budget allocated to research.

Data Use
Despite the availably of data, data are not always used at the point of collection, and it is often difficult to understand how metrics are used to make decisions.

SD6 Priority Areas

  1. Build one integrated Health Information System (HIS) for MOH.
  2. Implement eHIS.
  3. Improve data governance.
  4. Invest in health data.
  5. Strengthen research capacity and use research to improve practice.
  6. Enable data use.

SD6 General Objective

To build an integrated HIS, and strengthen efforts to collect, process, report and use health data.
Increase the availability, quality, value and use of timely and accurate strategic health information for the following:

  • Estimating disease burden
  • Understanding health needs
  • Allocating resources
  • Developing and delivering services
  • Improving patient care
  • Identifying inequities
  • Tracking progress towards national, regional and global commitments.

The health sector will also generate appropriate knowledge from research needed for evidence-based decision-making and improving practice.

SD6 Specific Objectives

View the Improve Data for Impact: Specific Objectives

62 World Health Organization. Framework and standards for country health information systems / Health Metrics Network, World Health Organization. – 2nd Ed.
63 World Health Statistics 2020: monitoring health for the SDGs, sustainable development goals. Geneva: World Health Organization.

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