The IDEA review gives policymakers the sharpest look yet at how to improve the use of routine data for immunization decision-making.
Top findings for policymakers
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 Policymakers
The following checklist is designed to support policymakers seeking to invest in improving data use for immunization. (Download this checklist.)
The intervention aligns with national guidelines on processes and procedures for data collection, analysis, and use by health care workers.
Health facility level:
Health facilities are equipped with sufficient human resources—including dedicated staff where feasible—to perform tasks associated with data collection, management, and analysis.
Front-line health worker training curricula focuses on training staff to use routine service delivery data for decision-making and problem solving and shifts perceptions away from data serving the sole purpose of reporting up through the system.
Health district level:
Tools that organize data into meaningful information are implemented with complementary strategies for discussing data analyses and determining actions to be taken.
Strategies are implemented to improve the quality of supportive supervision to focus on improving data use skills and practices.
National guidelines contain well-defined processes and procedures for data collection, analysis, and use by health care workers across all levels of the health system.
National guidelines include clear guidance on various types of decision-making informed by data, as well as guidelines for how health workers are expected to use data in various scenarios.