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Health information systems store, manage and communicate information.

Key elements of a health information system

A well-functioning HIS should:

  1. Generate and compile information from service delivery points to district level routine information systems, disease surveillance systems, and also laboratory/procurement information systems, hospital patient administration systems and human resource management information systems
  2. Detect events that threaten public health security
  3. Analyse, synthesise and communicate information for use in planning and implementation

Better measurement and accountability for results

Figure: The Six Components of a Health Information System; Health Metrics Network; ‘Framework and Standards for Country Health Information Systems ‘WHO 2012

Data sources
Data management
Information products
Dissemination and use

Health information system resources: These consist of the legislative, regulatory, and planning frameworks required to ensure a fully functioning HIS and the resources that are required for such a system to be functional, such as personnel, financing, information and communications technology (ICT) etc.


Indicators: A core set of indicators and related targets is the basis for an HIS plan and strategy. Indicators need to encompass determinants of health, health system inputs, outputs, and outcomes, and health status.


Data sources: including population-based approaches (censuses, surveys and civil registration) and institution-based data (individual records, service records, and resource records). Additional information from occasional health surveys, research, and information produced by community-based organizations (CBOs).


Data management: collection, storage, quality-assurance, flow, processing, compilation, and analysis of data.


Information products: Data must be transformed into information that will become the basis for evidence and decision making.


Dissemination and use: The value of health information can be enhanced by making it readily accessible to decision makers.

UNDP’s offer

Many countries in which UNDP operates are low-income or challenging operating environments. These tend to have young or fragmented health information systems, sometimes set up in an ad-hoc way in response to different donor requirements. UNDP works to assess what is in place and how this can be strengthened to form a sustainable health information system. UNDP works to:
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  • Assess the country requirements based on the national health strategy and priorities
  • Support the development of national health information strategies
  • Support the design of a more integrated system
  • Implement electronic Patient Management Systems (ePMS) and/or District Health Information Systems (DHIS) and/or Logistics Management Information Systems (LMIS)
  • Assess needs for other elements of a comprehensive HIS, such as logistics management information systems or human resource management information systems
  • Support the integration and harmonization of data management systems, to reduce silos

Suggested capacity development indicators

  • National health information strategy in place, with supporting M&E Plan
  • Comprehensiveness of health data capture: prevalence, incidence, qualitative social and behavioural data, disaggregated by age and gender
  • % of districts that submit timely, complete and accurate reports to national level
  • % of facilities that submit timely, complete and accurate reports to district level
  • Level of use of data collection systems for studies and evaluations
  • Level of integration of health data into management and forecasting reports and processes

Key resources

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