Over the last three decades enormous effort has gone into strengthening public health information systems (HIS). They are now a key element of health sector reform initiatives, but are growing in complexity. This is driven by the increasing diversity of technology platforms, increasing demands for information, the multitude of actors involved, and the need for data security and privacy. Initiatives like Universal Health Coverage and Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases are expected to place further burdens on all health systems. However, they will pose particular challenges in resource-constrained settings, such as low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where health systems have struggled to provide quality care. Public Health Informatics discusses the challenges that exist in the design, development, and implementation of HIS. Key problem areas, such as sub-adequate data and problems of inter-operability, are analysed in detail and the book looks at possible approaches to addressing these challenges in LMICs.
Case studies critically appraise the experiences of countries and health programmes in the building of HISs, to determine the successes and failures of varying approaches. Finally, the book explores how future systems in developing countries can be shaped. The expert author team has two decades experience in over 30 LMICs, and includes researchers and practitioners from the fields of informatics, public health, and medicine. This uniquely comprehensive account of information systems in the public health setting will be of use to the wide range of people working in this broad cross-disciplinary field, from software developers to public health practitioners and researchers.
Sundeep Sahay is professor in informatics at the University of Oslo since 1999. He is engaged in research and development in the area of Health Informatics and ICT4D, and has been engaged in research, education, policy, and practical system implementation activities in multiple countries in Africa and Asia. He has founded a NGO in India called HISP India (see hispindia.org) in 1999, to help provide technical support to Indian government, at the state and national levels, and continues to mentor it in an honorary role. He has conducted various assignments for WHO, FAO, GIZ, ADB and others spanning the domains of public health informatics, and food security and nutrition. Dr. T. Sundararaman is currently Professor and Dean of the School of Health Systems Studies, in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Earlier as director of the state health resource center of Chhattisgarh (2002 - 07) and then as executive director of the National Health Systems Resource Centre (2007-14), he was associated with designing and implementing a new generation of reforms associated with the National Rural Health Mission which aimed to strengthening public health systems. He is also one of the founder members and leading activists of the Indian Peoples Health Movement which campaigns for health equity and health as a fundamental human right. Jorn Braa is professor in informatics at the University of Oslo. He is engaged in research and development in the area of Health Informatics and ICT4D, and he has since 1993 initiated and participated in a number of research and development projects in Africa and Asia. He initiated the Health Information System Program (HISP) in South Africa in 1994 and the DHIS2 open source software project in 2004. He has also participated in developing Masters Programs in Health Informatics in Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, South Africa and Ethiopia. His current research agenda is to work with countries and the HISP network to develop good practices in implementing the DHIS2 platform as part of an integrated HIS architecture.