The World Health Organization identified supportive policy and regulatory frameworks as a key ingredient in a high functioning health information system (HMN Tools, 2008). These frameworks provide the foundation for effective data collection and management systems, which are needed for data use. Health information is most effective and useful when widely available so policies that enable data sharing are critical to this.
At the same time, the confidentiality of an individual’s health information must be protected. A data use policy is a regulation, guideline or law that provides the necessary guidance to the health sector on issues affecting data analysis and use.
Needed policies will differ by country but may include:
We work with countries to develop data use policies that support effective data collection and use at the national level. This collaborative process includes detailed discussions with ministries of health counterparts to understand needs and parameters for policy, review of international best practices and existing policies, conducting a needs assessment with key stakeholders, assisting with policy drafting and buy-in meetings to get input from key stakeholders.
Bloomberg Philanthropies | Data for Health Initiative
The Initiative, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies is providing technical assistance to 20 low- and middle-income countries worldwide to improve public health data systems. The Data Impact Program, focusing on data use, is one of three Initiative components; the other two components focus on data collection and quality: improving civil registration and vital statistics systems and developing new tools for noncommunicable disease risk factor surveillance. Collaborating institutions in the Initiative are: Vital Strategies, CDC Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the World Health Organization.