Dear HIFA colleagues,
Thank you for your comments on Q4 about whether access to healthcare inforamtion is (or should be) a human right.
I invite you to consider Question 5.
Q5: Improving the availability and use of reliable healthcare information would lead to substantial improvements in quality of care and health outcomes. Do you strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, or strongly agree?
Here is a preview from the survey results so far: The vast majority (>90%) agree or agree strongly with this statement.
Several people have made the point that reliable healthcare information is necessary for quality of care and health outcomes, but that many other factors are also necessary. This has been noted previously in HIFA discussions. Access to reliable healthcare information is necessary but not sufficient for quality care. HIFA has used the acronym SEISMIC to describe the diverse needs of healthcare providers: skills, equipment, *information*, structural support, medicines, incentives (including a decent salary), and communication facilities.
Some people have noted that information should be not only reliable, but should have the other attributes of information that is 'needed', including being in the right language, format, technical level, and timeliness - and appropriate to the level of resources.
A few have said the statement is self-evident. I would agree. Quality of care is virtually synonymous with the availability and use of reliable healthcare information. Furthermore, this is true whatever the context, whatever the level of available resources. A parent in a low-resource setting with no medicines needs reliable information to make health-realated decisions for his/her child just as much as a paediatrician in a hospital setting needs information for the care of a patient. The information needs are different, but may be equally important.
What do you think?
HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org