The National Policy on Health Information
The Health Information Unit (HIU) and the Policy Development & Analysis Unit of the Ministry of Health has formulated The National Policy on Health Information, through a policy formulation process which was initiated with a series of discussions held with relevant high level stakeholders within and outside the Ministry of Health. Key stakeholders includes officials of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance, Census and Statistics Department, Registrar General’s Department, Department of Police, Institute of Policy Studies, Institute of Health Policy, Private sector healthcare institutions, Professional bodies and Universities, WHO, World bank and UNICEF.
The proposals put forward through this Policy falls in line with and supports the objectives set out in the National Health Policy. This Policy is intended to create a national Health Information System (HIS) which is ubiquitous, integrated, dynamic, resilient, cost-effective and sustainable, through its implementation.
It is also aimed at encouraging innovations and defining the direction for systematically converting appropriate areas of the HIS to an electronic information system in future.
Key areas of concerns and objectives addressed by this Policy are; 1. measures to ensure provision health information to support organizational management and development, 2. measures to ensure continuity of care for healthcare recipients through a life-long health record (issuing of a unique number and health card to all citizens at their first point of contact with a health institution), 3. establishment of guidelines and regulations for intra and inter sectoral information sharing, integration of information from state (other than health) and non-state sectors, appropriate adaptation of ICT solutions and innovations, adaptation of infrastructure and human resources for information management, 4. assurance of information security and incorporation of ethical and fair information practices and 5. assurance of continuous annual resource allocation and financing for sustainability of health information systems.
The policy directives are prescribed in five areas related to the HIS; 1. Health Information Related Resources, 2. Indicators and Data Elements, 3. Data and Information Management, 4. Data/Information Security, Client Privacy, Confidentiality and Ethics, 5. eHealth and Innovations. Policy directives are supported by the strategies of National Health Information Strategic plan (annexure 1 to the policy document) and shall be monitored by a set of key performance indicators (annexure 2 to the policy document).
This Policy will act as the overarching document guiding the health care delivery organizations to take action to manage and improve their health information accordingly. The Directorate of HIU will be the focal point for implementation and monitoring & evaluation of this policy.
The Cabinet approval for the National Policy on Health Information of Sri Lanka was granted and will be effective from the 3rd of January, 2017. This Policy was officially launched at a ceremony held on 6th July, 2017 at the BMICH, Colombo.