Collecting and utilizing data:
- guides quality assurance;
- provides information on the implementation and effectiveness of a policy or programme as implemented;
- builds on the evidence available to other implementers.
The following need to be in place to effectively collect, utilize, and share data:
- an adequate decision support data system;
- adequate capacity among programme implementers to use, interpret and translate data appropriately.
Decision support data systems are sources of information used to help make good decisions internal to an organization. They are an important part of continuous quality improvement for policies and interventions. When setting up a decision support data system it is important to be clear about the data to be collected, where the data will be sourced from, and who will be responsible for data collection. It is also important to establish how the data available will be used for quality assurance and improvement.
If the feedback loops (staff performance evaluations and decision support data systems) indicate that changes are needed, then the organization adjusts the integrated system to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
A template for guidance through some of these issues is provided below.