As countries strengthen their data infrastructures, global health professionals increasingly need data from multiple sources for monitoring programs and for preventing and controlling the spread of epidemics. These data sources are routine health information systems (health facility and community-based information systems) and nonroutine sources (household and other population-based surveys, census, civil registration and vital statistics systems, disease surveillance systems, health facility surveys, and administrative data systems). These varied sources of data complement one another, and when combined, improve the data’s usefulness.
Before data sources can be linked, they need to be interoperable. To accomplish this, countries are developing health information exchange protocols, also called interoperability layers or health information mediators.
This paper focuses on one component of a health observatory—the decision support system (DSS). A DSS is a tool that brings data together from multiple sources and presents them in innovative visual formats: graphs, spatial analyses, and maps; health sector reports; and other media. A DSS makes health information more readily available, understandable, and, ultimately, more likely to be used by decision makers. JSI/MEASURE Evaluation. 2018.