Health information systems
Timely and accurate health information is the essential foundation for policy-making, and for the planning, implementation and evaluation of all health programmes. The 3 by 5 initiative needs careful and ongoing assessment of treatment requirements, programme access, coverage, quality of services and health outcomes, and operations research. Initially, health information may have to be collected as a vertical programme activity. The system will require the introduction of new technologies for patient identification and a continuous medical record, from which data can be extracted for the cohort analyses essential to the accurate measurement of treatment outcomes. Appointment systems and patient tracing are essential elements of chronic care management. The necessary investments and innovations in health information systems will assist the strengthening and reform of country health information systems towards which WHO is working, partly in the context of the Health Metrics Network (8). WHO will also link the health information component to activities related to strengthening the capacity of national health research, aligning national health research production, knowledge sharing and applications, and other activities in countries.