Assessment of Data Use Constraints
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In health information systems, the ultimate purpose of collecting and analyzing data is to improve programs by enabling more informed decisions—evidence-based decisions. Did the awareness campaign increase use of oral contraceptives? Have our counseling efforts increased acceptance of HIV/AIDS testing? Questions such as these must be answered with facts, rather than intuition or estimation.
Yet, in many areas of the world decision-makers do not have access to the required data, or they do not realize how data can be used to improve decisions, or the information they need does not exist or is not trusted. The practical utility of health information—how often and how effectively data is used or not used—is determined by multiple factors that can be categorized into three general categories: the attitudes and actions of people who produce or use data, the technical aspects of data processes and tools, and the organizational context that supports (or inhibits) data processes. The Assessment of Data Use Constraints tool focuses on these categories and uncovers issues in the areas that can usually be addressed with targeted interventions.
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