Public Health InformaticsDesigning for change - a developing country perspective

Public Health InformaticsDesigning for change - a developing country perspective

Sundeep Sahay, T Sundararaman, and Jørn Braa

Print publication date: Feb 2017

ISBN: 9780198758778

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Rapid and unpredictable developments in health policies, technologies, disease profiles, institutional environments, and their inter-connections have significant implications on how we design, develop, implement, and use health information systems (HIS) in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our current systems have heightened expectations but have proven largely incapable of meeting these new challenges. Nor have they been able to effectively leverage upon the new opportunities that are emerging, such as through the cloud, big data, the proliferation of mobile devices and the Internet of Things, and also the increasing array of new open source software solutions being made available through global development communities. What is required to try and address these challenges and opportunities? This book proposes the ‘Expanded PHI’ (public health informatics) perspective as a way forward, and through the various chapters first seeks to define it, and then apply it to analyse the following key problematics facing public health informatics in the domains of research, practice, and policy: use of information; integration of systems; leveraging cloud computing and big data; design and building of institutions that facilitate; managing complexity; evolving governance mechanisms and standards; responding to the new challenges thrown up by universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goals; and building synergies between health systems strengthening and health information strengthening efforts. In defining the scope of Expanded PHI, the field of public health informatics is first situated within an informatics context, and then within public health and finally within the context of changing global health policies. Drawing from these contextualizations, the design principles for Expanded PHI are elucidated, based primarily on a social systems perspective, where the health of populations is kept as the central purpose and a participatory and incremental nature of change as the primary strategy.