Routine Health Information Systems

Over the past decades, knowledge and understanding have grown regarding the role that health information systems play in improving global health. Even so, using data to make evidence-informed decisions is still weak in most low- and middle-income countries. This is particularly true for data produced by routine health information systems (RHIS).

These systems generate data collected at public and private health facilities and institutions, as well as at community-level healthcare posts and clinics, at regular intervals of a year at least. The data give a picture of health status, health services, and health resources. Most of the data are gathered by healthcare providers as they go about their work, by supervisors, and through routine health facility surveys. The sources of those data are generally individual health records, records of services delivered, and resource health records.

MEASURE Evaluation, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided technical and financial assistance for RHIS strengthening for more than 15 years. We have contributed to best practices at the global level, and to the strengthening of RHIS data collection, quality, analysis, and use at the country level. One of the project’s mandates is to strengthen the collection, analysis, and use of these data to achieve high-quality health service delivery.

When routine data are lacking, or are not used, the results are poor quality of the services delivered; weak infection prevention and control responses; lack of skilled health workers available where they are needed; and weak supply chains for drugs and equipment. All of these factors contribute to poor health outcomes for people.

Our main strategic approaches for strengthening RHIS focus on developing and reinforcing a country’s long-term planning for an integrated HIS, including all data sources, health metrics, and tools. We are also helping to create district-managed and denominator-based RHIS at subnational levels.

Related Content:

Routine Health Information Systems Curriculum

Other MEASURE Evaluation RHIS resources include:

RHIS Tools

RHIS Networks

  • RELACSIS - a network for Spanish-speaking professionals working to strengthen health information systems
  • RHINO - the Routine Health Information Network

MEASURE Evaluation Factsheet Series: RHIS