New WHO Resolution Aligns with CapacityPlus’s Information Systems Work

Recognizing the need for the seamless exchange of data within and between health information systems and the importance of such data to health decision-making and outcomes, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 28 recommended a resolution on eHealth standardization and interoperability for adoption by the 66th World Health Assembly when it meets in May.

Carl Leitner with software developersThe resolution urges member states to draw up national roadmaps for implementation of health data standards, develop policies linked to national eHealth strategies, and ensure privacy of personal clinical data. It also calls for the WHO’s support to member states to integrate application of health data standards and interoperability in their eHealth strategies through a multistakeholder and multisectoral approach, and to promote international harmonization of eHealth standards.

The new resolution aligns with CapacityPlus’s efforts to strengthen national health information systems and data-supported advocacy for human resources for health (HRH) and improved health services through the iHRIS platform of open source health workforce information systems software. Included in WHO’s 2012 Compendium of Innovative Technologies, iHRIS is designed to be supported and sustained by a global community of developers and implementers dedicated to strengthening the quality and consistency of country-level health workforce information and the interoperability of open source health information systems.

In Rwanda, for example, iHRIS is being used for the Provider Registry component of a national Open Health Information Exchange (HIE) that supports a consistent health record for patients across multiple encounters in diverse locations and provides common sources of key information—such as facilities, providers, and patients—for eHealth applications. Representing the first national health information system composed of separate but interoperable components, the Rwanda OpenHIE technologies are now being generalized for application in other countries with support from a global community of contributors.

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Photo by Rhonwyn Cornell (CapacityPlus's Carl Leitner with Rwandan software developers)