Information Systems For Health (IS4H)

Information Systems for Health is a mechanism for managing interoperable systems with open data that comes from different sources and that is ethically used, through effective ICT tools, to generate strategic information for the benefit of public health.

Key facts
  • VISION: Implementing universal access to health and universal health coverage in the region will be strengthened through interconnected and interoperable health-related information systems that assure effective and efficient access to quality data, strategic information and ICT tools for decision making and wellbeing.
  • GOAL: To implement a better decision and policy making mechanism through health-related information systems that ensure universal, free and timely access to data and strategic information using the most cost-effective ICT tools.
  • JUSTIFICATION: Preconceptions of information systems are mainly focused on software development, isolated electronic health records, or vital statistics. However, they must be conceived as an integrated mechanism of interconnected and interoperable systems and processes that ensure the convergence of data, information, knowledge, standards, people, and institutions. These preconceptions do not consider the current context established by the information society and the data revolution; therefore, they cannot provide a general and realistic framework for policy development and decision-making.
Fact sheet
  • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the main cause of death and disability worldwide, and effective management of these chronic conditions depends largely on continuous, responsive, accessible, and quality services and successful patient engagement and self-management. Digital health, and in particular telemedicine visits, electronic records, and electronic prescriptions, have already demonstrated having advantages in successfully ensuring continuity of care, especially when services are disrupted, as well as monitoring and evaluating interventions for NCDs. [Read more...]
  • Information systems for health can be improved by prioritizing the following areas: governance; multisectoral management; technology infrastructure; standards and interoperability; automatization and interoperability of electronic health records;, privacy, confidentiality, and security of data; data and information processing; knowledge management and sharing; innovation; and risk management. [Read more...]
  • Predictive analytics is statistical analysis that uses data mining, machine learning, and algorithms based on historical data series to identify behavior patterns and trends to predict future scenarios. Although predictive analytics is a well-known analytical method, recently it has been enhanced by the availability of large data resources or Big Data, increased computational capacity, and modern analytical mechanisms. [Read more...]
  • The COVID-19 outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive infodemic: an overabundance of accurate and inaccurate information that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. Infodemic refers to a large increase in the volume of information associated with a specific topic and whose growth can occur exponentially in a short period of time due to a specific incident, such as the current pandemic. [Read more...]
  • An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a health record residing in an electronic system specifically designed for data collection, storage, and manipulation, and to provide safe access to complete data about patients. EHR offer many benefits compared to paper records: accessibility, support for multiple views, improved communication between providers, communication with patients, data aggregation, access to knowledge bases, and integration with decision support tools. [Read more...]
What PAHO does

The main objective of Information Systems for Health (IS4H) is to introduce a renewed vision that helps to establish a general framework of operation and a common understanding of the specific components of Information Systems for Health. The Organization seeks to support countries in defining strategies, policies, standards for interoperable and interconnected systems, and best practices in health data management for improving decision-making and well-being under the framing of four overarching strategic approaches: (1) universal access to health and universal health coverage, (2) health in all policies, (3) eGovernment, (4) open and big data Initiatives.

The implementation of IS4H at the national level seeks to enhance collaboration and coordination across the country and sub region through the definition and adoption of standards for interoperability. The adoption of these standards for interoperability is a critical factor of success as an essential measurement element to conduct monitoring and evaluate progress toward universal access to health and universal health coverage, including the measurement of health outcomes, comprehensive health services, and inequities and social determinants of health.

PAHO is fully committed to work with all its member countries in IS4H initiatives at both regional and national levels, facilitating dialogue and encouraging expansion from the current priority area of client management systems to other areas critical to health, involving prevention, rehabilitation, and overall improvement of the health system.