Health Information System

A health information system manages vast amounts of health-related information, originating from various sources. The aim is to better understand the dynamics of a population’s health and to evaluate the performance of a health system. Health information is essential to develop evidence-based policies. It is also an essential tool for health research.

What is a health information system?

A health information system consists of several elements:

  • data collection and management
  • data compilation and indicator development
  • research (data analysis, synthesis and inference)
  • it also includes communication and interpretation of the results to enable their use in policy-making and interventions.

Data sources used for collecting data include, a.o.:

  • vital statistics (birth and death registration)
  • health surveys
  • censuses
  • disease-specific registers
  • health facility diseases registration
  • health care resources databases
  • health care performance.

A health information system ensures overall quality, relevance and timeliness of data, and converts it into information, knowledge and evidence for health-related decision-making, or makes it available for researchers.

Why do we need a health information system?

In order to effectively serve and protect population health, and to respond to health and health system challenges, policies must be underpinned by solid scientific evidence delivered by high-quality research on sound data and reliable information. Health information systems play an important role in ensuring that reliable and timely health information is available for operational and strategic decision-making in and beyond the health sector.

Health information is part of Sciensano’s core business: we are a major contributor to the health information system in Belgium. We run several data collection systems, take care of data processing and translate data into key recommendations to policy makers. Sciensano collaborates and coordinates its activities with various stakeholders at national and regional level. In addition, we take the lead in various international health information projects.

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