Learning Agenda

The primary function of national health information systems (HIS) is to collect and analyze data to help providers and policymakers improve patient care, identify a population’s most important health needs, and decide how to address those needs.

Alongside this central function of HIS, another is to make data available for accountability in health initiatives and to provide evidence of a country’s progress toward global Sustainable Development Goals.

A dividend of work to improve the reliability of an HIS is that a country and its partners can then also use the data that the HIS generates to monitor and evaluate the performance of health programs. From this analysis, best practices for the conduct of those programs often come to light.

The effort required for an HIS to satisfy all these demands is a challenge in countries where human, financial, and technological resources are scarce. MEASURE Evaluation works at the intersection of a country’s need for reliable health information and the capacity of the HIS there to generate it. MEASURE Evaluation is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with a mandate to strengthen HIS and, moreover, to share what we are learning as we go. To do this, we have established a “learning agenda” that seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  • What are the factors and conditions that indicate progress to improve HIS?
  • What are the stages of progress to a strong HIS, and how should they be measured?
  • What are the characteristics of a strong HIS?

Our learning agenda is informed and supported by the online Health Information System Strengthening Resource Center. This public website contains profiles showing the strengths and gaps of current HIS in 43 countries. It houses syntheses of what we have learned in several countries where interventions have been assessed to determine how they impact the HIS. The Resource Center features a model of how HIS function and illustrates the enablers and barriers to strengthening HIS. And it contains resources, definitions, and tools to help others assess and improve HIS. The MEASURE Evaluation website also is a repository for a wealth of information on strengthening HIS, including tools and guidance.

Related content

Learning Agenda Capacity Statement

Health Information Systems Strengthening Resource Center

Using DHIS 2 to Strengthen Health Systems

MEASURE Evaluation’s Work in Health System Strengthening: Global Models, Tools, and Resources to Measure and Improve Health Information System Performance

Improving Continuity of Care by Strengthening Health Information Systems

Easing the Data Collection Burden on Healthcare Providers by Strengthening Health Information Systems

Health Information Systems Indicator Registry

Health Information Systems Strengthening Resource Center: Centralizing Evidence

Health Data Collaborative