Standards for Integration of HIV/AIDS Information Systems into Routine Health Information Systems
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Author(s): Boone D, Cloutier S
In recent years, there has been a strong push to strengthen national health systems in developing countries. In its framework for action, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes a health system as consisting of “all organizations, people and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore or maintain health.” It further elaborates on the six building blocks that comprise a health system: health service delivery; health workforce; health information; medical products, vaccines and technologies; health financing; and leadership and governance. These building blocks are interdependent and must interact synergistically to produce a positive impact on health outcomes. There is widespread agreement that, unfortunately, national health systems are not performing at an optimal level and that improved health outcomes cannot be realized without strengthening the health system.
One of the main data sources of an HIS is a routine health information system (RHIS), which is a health facility and/or community-based system to collect, analyze, and use relevant information for decision making on priority health services.
According to WHO, “a well-functioning health information system is one that ensures the production, analysis, dissemination, and use of reliable and timely information on health determinants, health system performance and health status.’’ However, attainment of sustainable population health in many developing countries is made increasingly challenging given the current weaknesses of many national HIS.
This guide describes approaches and standards for integration of vertical information systems with the RHIS. It uses HIV/AIDS information systems primarily, as examples of best practices and what is required for achieving integration with RHIS. These principals are cross-cutting, however, and can be applied to nearly any disease or program-specific information system. General aspects of information system integration are first presented, followed by the case of HIV/AIDS integration. The concept of interoperability as a method for achieving the goals of integration is then presented, with generic models and country examples of different types of integration.
This document is not available in print from MEASURE Evaluation.