Milestones :: Perspectives :: Research
Washington, D.C. / Seattle, WA, April 2, 2019 —A new report from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and PATH, Immunization Data: Evidence for Action (IDEA), has launched to provide the immunization community with clear, proven strategies for improving the quality and use of immunization data.
Strategies to improve data use
While advances in information technology have led to continuous increases in the amount of health data available, data remain an underutilized resource in the design and implementation of immunization programs throughout the world. The IDEA review identifies five proven strategies to improve data use and outlines how funders, policymakers, and program implementers can incorporate these best practices to improve the efficacy of state, regional, and national immunization programs:
 Strategies that address barriers to immunization should be interconnected and mutually reinforcing.
 The more data are used, the more likely data quality will improve.
 Data should be an integral part of health decision-making.
 Digital information systems should be utilized to provide high-quality data to decision-makers in real time.
 The use of digital systems should be phased to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place to manage them.
“The Region of the Americas has some of the highest levels of vaccination coverage in the world, but despite this, many hard-to-reach populations are still left behind,” said Dr. Martha Velandia, regional immunization advisor at PAHO. “Ensuring that practitioners have access to rigorous immunization data is vital for the design and implementation of evidence-based programs that we know will work. The IDEA review is a huge step towards compiling this evidence and highlighting the areas where more data are needed,” she added.
The IDEA review, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, draws on findings from nearly 550 documents—including published literature, working papers, project evaluations, and reports—distilled and prioritized by global immunization experts. The resulting report provides a concise guide for global and public health practitioners, explaining what works to improve data quality and use, why it works, and how the immunization community can take evidence-based action to improve immunization outcomes around the world.
“PATH and PAHO conducted the IDEA review to systematically gather available evidence and identify where interventions are working to improve immunization data use and where we have gaps in information,” said Laurie Werner, global director of the BID Initiative with PATH. “The five strategies described by the review are intended to serve as a resource for all of us working in the immunization community and help to advance and refine the efforts that are really working.”…