The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage’s new Data Foundations Collaborative convened its first in-person meeting on October 10-13, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam. This workshop was hosted by Vietnam’s Health Strategy and Policy Institute in partnership with facilitators from PATH and Wipro.
Participants included information technology (IT) managers, data analysts and researchers at ministries of health and national health insurance agencies. Financial support for the collaborative is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This event was co-located with meetings hosted by the People-Centered Integrated Care collaborative and the Primary Health Care Financing and Payment collaborative. The Data Foundations collaborative brought together 18 professionals from 11 countries to discuss common challenges and strategies for improving the availability, quality and use of healthcare data.
Data Challenges Surface for Countries
The Data Foundations collaborative was formed to bring together stakeholders exploring a challenge that all countries face as they scale their universal health coverage (UHC) systems: the need for usable data.
As health care ecosystems become more mature, an increasing number of information systems produce health care and health financing operational data such as clinical health records, member registries, provider registries and financial claim payments. IT can play a critical role in how raw data transforms into valuable information. However, IT professionals face challenges when putting in place the underlying infrastructure and enabling the “data foundations” necessary to make data accessible and usable.
The workshop in Hanoi was an opportunity for members of the newly minted collaborative to get to know one another; share information on their current data projects and priorities; and identify common interests and challenges.
After three days of joint-learning and interactive brainstorming sessions, the participants spent time voting on priority topic areas and discussing what kinds of resources and tools would be helpful for the collaborative to produce to support their work.
These exercises uncovered that despite the varying maturity-level of their health care data systems, country participants have common interests, including co-developing and testing a framework for data management, developing guidance for implementing best practices for data security, and identifying improved processes when using data for decision-making.
Based on the outcomes and feedback from the workshop, the Data Foundations collaborative is developing a program for 2018 that will include a series of data-related topic areas to explore through both virtual and in-person workshops. Stay tuned for ways you can follow, participate, or use and adapt tools and resources along with the team.