Towards an overarching European health information system

Marieke Verschuuren*, Annemiek van Bolhuis, Nicole Rosenkoetter, Mariken Tijhuis, J.A.M. van Oers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A European health information system (HIS) supports mutual learning between member states through international comparisons. In addition, it informs international policy agendas. Collaboration between the major stakeholders, most importantly the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO-Euro), the European Commission and OECD, is important for member states, as this will contribute to better and more efficiently produced health intelligence. This paper focuses on this 'supra-international' collaboration. Although progress has been made, most notably in relation to joint data collections on monetary and non-monetary healthcare statistics, there is still room for improvement, both in relation to the harmonization of indicators and their underlying data collections, and the better coordination of reporting and research and development work. The working environment is complex, and differences between the (scope of the) health information activities of the three international organizations must be accepted. Yet there is enough common ground to build on. In addition, important barriers hampering further progress are the current semantic confusion about what constitutes a(n international) HIS, and inadequate coordination of national positions across various technical and political platforms of the international organizations. A pragmatic, bottom-up approach, instead of technically and strategically complex and comprehensive solutions, seems the best way forward. The current momentum created by EU-level developments and networks like the European Health Information Initiative of WHO-Euro provide an opportunity for taking the overarching European HIS to a next level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-48
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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