Considerations for the Use of Routine Data for Evaluation of Public Health Programs


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Author(s): MEASURE Evaluation

Year: 2020

Considerations for the Use of Routine Data for Evaluation of Public Health Programs Abstract:

A routine health information system (RHIS) collects and provides data about standard health and vital events at regular intervals to support the decision-making process at each level of the health system. Use of data from RHIS for evaluation has grown as more resources are dedicated to improving these systems. Secondary data, including routine data, are not collected by the data user but have appealing advantages over primary data collected for specific research. They are typically collected more frequently or over a longer period; boast greater cost efficiency, in some cases; and may be available more quickly. However, routine data are not appropriate for all evaluation questions or all contexts. Evaluators must carefully consider aspects such as data quality, usability, and accessibility before deciding to use these data.

MEASURE Evaluation, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has used RHIS data in numerous evaluations over the past 20 years. This brief shares field experiences from this work and key considerations for the use of RHIS data in evaluation.