Making solid and up-to-date health information available for evidence based health policies
A healthy population is a prerequisite for economic productivity and prosperity. EU member states share the ambition of improving citizens’ health, providing optimal prevention and universal access to safe, effective and efficient healthcare. Ageing, technical innovations and growing citizen expectations increase the pressure on health systems. National healthcare expenditures are huge and increasing. We cannot afford them to be inefficient or ineffective, nor to jeopardize other important public expenses.
To make the most of health spending and investments at EU and Member State level, pro-active policy and decision making should be based on thorough research outcomes. This research should be derived from solid and up-to-date data resulting in a good and timely understanding of the dynamics of population health and health system performance. Health information systems play an important role in ensuring that reliable and timely health information is available for operational and strategic decision making inside and outside the health sector.
In the BRIDGE Health (BRidging Information and Data Generation for Evidence-based Health policy and research) project, which ended in October 2017, Sciensano contributed to the availability and use of health information for policy-making and research, to develop better informed health policies. The activities are now continued in the Joint Action on Health Information called InfAct which we are coordinating at Sciensano. Through country collaboration, InfAct streamlines health information activities, reduces the data collection burden and works for a sustainable and robust data collection in Europe that facilitates and supports country knowledge, health research and policy making.
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As the EU needs timely, sound, high-quality health data to support policymaking and decision-making, strengthen programme action and improve individual and public health outcomes, InfAct focuses on 3 pillars to strengthen national and EU health information systems by:
- working towards a sustainable research infrastructure to support population health and health system performance assessment
- strengthening European health information and knowledge bases and health information research capacities to reduce health information inequalities
- supporting health information interoperability and innovative health information tools and data sources.
InfAct is a Joint Action of 36 months. It builds on the BRIDGE Health project and other initiatives in health information. The project was launched in March 2018. It includes 41 partners in 27 EU and associated countries. InfAct works through 7 work packages. It is supported under the EU action of the Public Health Programme implemented by the Consumers, Health and Food Executive Agency of the European Commission.