How Do Other Organizations Define HIS?

MEASURE Evaluation conceptualizes health information systems (HIS) as an umbrella term covering all systems, functions, structures, and personnel related to documenting and using health information. Other entities define HIS more specifically.

MEASURE Evaluation conceptualizes health information systems (HIS) as an umbrella term covering all systems, functions, structures, and personnel related to documenting and using health information. Other entities define HIS more specifically. 

The Health Metrics Network (HMN) outlined six essential components of health information systems: HIS resources, indicators, data sources, data management, information products, and dissemination and use. Further, the HMN framework says that for a health system to function, policy, administrative, organization, and financial prerequisites must be in place. Supportive legislature and regulatory environments are needed to enable confidentiality, security, ownership, sharing, retention, and destruction of data.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that an HIS provides the underpinnings for decision making and has four key functions: data generation, compilation, analysis and synthesis, and communication and use. An HIS enables health workers to collect data from the health sector and from other relevant sectors; analyze the data and ensure their overall quality, relevance, and timeliness; and convert data into information for health-related decision making.

Vital Wave Consulting (for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) states that the term HIS applies to national data collection efforts that integrate a broad range of critical health-related data. These data encompass an entire national population and can be used at all levels of the health system to support improved service delivery and health outcomes. An HIS is not primarily about technology. Whereas technology can enhance efficiency and effectiveness of information systems, collection and use of reliable data does not necessarily require sophisticated technology. Even simple, paper-based systems can be effective if well-conceived. In sum, it is important to recognize the role technology can play, while keeping in mind that the performance of an information system and the quality of decisions it supports are never a matter of technology alone.

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