International Health Information
The use of internationally comparable health data adds a valuable dimension to public health monitoring and health (care) system assessment. International comparisons of public health invite us to view national developments and policy effectiveness in a broader light. They challenge us to reflect and more closely consider why differences between countries exist. International studies of population health benefit from the variations in lifestyles, living environments and health systems existing across Europe. Exploring these variations helps to see underlying causes and possible solutions to public health problems. In other words: we learn from variations in health and care and from best practices in other countries.
Thus, international health data and comparisons are important for developing knowledge, preparing new policies and reconsidering priorities. Both for policy and research, it is important that the Dutch public health field is up-to-date on the processes of collection and use of health data and that the Dutch data are well-considered and interpreted in the international arena. Access to data and knowledge of (how to use) data is essential for any sustainable health system. The National Node on Health Information fulfills the need for knowledge and exchange in this area.
The National Node on Health Information is a national network that gathers and exchanges information about internationally comparable health data and their use, thereby also aiming to contribute to quality and interoperability.
Data collections, methods of standardization, meta-data, indicators and health reports, among others, are part of the National Node’s scope. It covers the full width of public health and care: health determinants, health status, health care and health system. The National Node seeks to contribute to the exchange and alignment of international health data and their use.
The network, its activities and the website are developing.
The focus of the National Node on Health Information is on coordination of knowledge and expertise in the field of international health data and their use. The Node has the following tasks:
The National Node on Health Information
- offers an overview of internationally relevant data sources and indicator sets in the field of public health and care
- keeps track of data and information requests to Dutch Institutions by international organisations
- prepares timelines and planning & control cycles for routine data and information requests by international organisations
- shares important developments regarding international classifications and data standards
- provides an overview of the most relevant international gatherings, commissions and projects for public health and care
b) Coordination and alignment
The National Node offers coordination and support within the Dutch field for:
- discussions about international comparisons of health in the Netherlands.
- discussions about data (use) issues in need of solutions, shared by Dutch institutions.
- requests from international organisations that require multi-institutional expertise.
The National Node sends out a signal to policy makers if Dutch health data no longer fulfil - or are in danger of no longer fulfilling - international needs and vice versa.
The National Node promotes the use and visibility of international data and comparisons in the field of health and care, to benefit the Dutch data landscape and Dutch policy.
The above tasks can be expanded in the future.
The National Node on Health Information is formed by national institutions that generate, report and/or use data and information for international purposes. It has a core team consisting of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment , secretariat), Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL).
The National Node also involves stakeholders that do not directly generate data or information, but use it (e.g. in policy) or that generate the right conditions for their use (e.g. data standards).
The National Node on Health Information is aimed at health researchers, health policy makers and other professionals in the field of public health and care, interested in internationally comparable data and their use.