The IDEA review helps build a common knowledge and understanding among investors in global health of what works to improve immunization data quality and use, why it works, and where more investment is needed. Our strongest tool to identify where more investment is needed is the gap map.
Top findings for funders
Interconnected Strategies Get Better Results
Immunization data use improves when programs use a comprehensive set of interconnected and mutually reinforcing strategies that address barriers. Successful packages include strategies that address skill and capacity building, behavior change management, user-centered design principles, and long-term resource commitments.
Data Use Leads to Better Data
The relationship between data quality and its use is dynamic and cyclical – one informs and inspires the other. The more data is used, the more its quality improves, and as data quality improves, health care workers are more confident about using it to guide their actions.
Systemizing Data Use Leads to Long-term Success
Data use becomes an integral part of decision-making when it’s built into processes at all levels of the health system. Interventions are more likely to be successful long term if they institutionalize data use through dedicated staff positions for data management, routine data review meetings, and training and guidelines for front-line staff.
HMIS and LMIS Increase Availability of Quality Data
Digital systems such as health management information systems (HMIS) and computerized logistics management information systems (LMIS) have made higher-quality data more available to decision makers in real time. And even greater gains are achieved when digital systems are paired with other activities that reinforce data use.
Digital Systems Show Promise but Barriers Still Exist
The transition from paper to digital systems across all levels of the health system has made higher-quality data more available to decision-makers, but has not automatically translated into greater data use. There is more success at the district level or higher because of fewer operational challenges than at the facility level. This finding shows the need for a phased approach—to make sure data use infrastructure, human resource capacity and skill building are in place before a full digital transition.
Checklist for funders
The following checklist is designed to support funders seeking to invest in improving data use for immunization. (Download this checklist.)
Investments address documented bottlenecks to data use and use multi-component and theory-driven approaches to resolving those challenges.
Investments are funded based on what is known to work, or has high likelihood of success in a given context.
Investments are aligned with national policies and strategies for data use or ehealth and with other investments.
Investments are accompanied with a robust M&E plan that will contribute to filling existing evidence gaps, including cost-effectiveness.
At the health facility level:
Data quality investments have been equally balanced with strategies to improve data use.
At the district level:
Investments include components of quality improvement methodologies to provide structured approaches to interpret data, prioritize problems, and find solutions.
At the national level:
Investments are geared towards data use strategies end efforts to increase use of evidence in policy decision-making.