Fern Greenwell, PhD, MPH
Shannon Salentine, MPH
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
January 1, 2018

The purpose of this guide is to help health authorities and health information officers align health information system (HIS) data sources with standards and best practices, to ensure that reliable data produce comparable statistics at all levels of the health system. The guide, published by MEASURE Evaluation with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is designed to increase HIS efficiency, improve the quality of national-level indicators used for benchmarking a country relative to others, facilitate participation in global development goals, and increase the confidence of HIS stakeholders in the statistics the system generates.

Standards refer to both globally developed and national standards that serve to classify and code health data in a way that facilitates reliable comparisons of indicators across geographical areas and subpopulations, and over time. Best practices reflect successful approaches taken to implement standards or to provide needed guidance if standards are not available. They often address areas of HIS modernisation, such as evolving technological solutions, and are developed by groups with expertise in a particular niche.

Each HIS data source module in the guide summarises best practices and standards for data from that source and offers additional references to tools and resources. The twelve modules, along with a brief explanation of each source, are:

  • Module 1: Individual Records. These are a source of patient-level data on diagnoses and service interventions.
  • Module 2: Health Infrastructure Information System. These are a source of health facility data on infrastructure and services.
  • Module 3: Human Resources for Health Information System. These are a source of health personnel data and the types of health occupations.
  • Module 4: Logistics Management Information System. These are a source of data on the availability and cost of essential medicines and health commodities.
  • Module 5: Financial Management Information System. These are a source of financial data on budget estimates and revenues and expenditures.
  • Module 6: Health Facility Assessments. These are a source of data on the readiness of facilities to provide services.
  • Module 7: Population Censuses. These are a source of data for estimates of the population exposed to risk or service coverage.
  • Module 8: Population-Based Surveys. These are a source of health and socioeconomic data at the household and individual level.
  • Module 9A: Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System: Registration of Events.
  • Module 9B: Civil Registration and Vital Statistics System: Certification of Cause of Death. These are a source of birth, death, stillbirth, and cause of death data.
  • Module 10: Public Health Surveillance System. These are a source of data on reportable diseases conditions and threats to public health.
  • Module 11: Collective Intervention Records. These are a source of data on services that are meant to reach the general population.
  • Module 12: Health Accounts. These are a source of expenditure data by financer, provider, and type of healthcare consumed.
  • Zip file containing all of the above modules.

The reference guide builds on the Health Metrics Network (HMN) Framework (developed by the World Health Organization [WHO] and HMN, 2008) and on the Health Information System Strengthening Model (MEASURE Evaluation, 2016). For more resources related to strengthening HIS, visit MEASURE Evaluation's Health Information System Strengthening Resource Center.

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Posting from Ados May to IBP Global, February 13 2018, MEASURE Evaluation website, February 14 2018, and email from Beth Robinson to The Communication Initiative on February 14 2018.