Role of information systems in public health services.
The purpose of this review is to establish a conceptual framework on the role of information systems in public health care. Information is indispensable for effective management and development of health services and therefore considered as an important operational asset or resource. A Health Information System is mainly required to support management and operations at four levels: namely transactional and functional; operational control; management planning and control; and strategic planning. To provide the necessary information needs of users at these levels of management in the health care system, a structured information system coupled with appropriate information technology is required. Adequate and relevant information is needed regarding population characteristics, resources available and expended, output and outcome of health care activities. Additionally information needs to be reliable, accurate, timely, easily accessible and presented in a compact and meaningful form. With a well-planned health information system health authorities would be in a position to provide a quality, cost-effective and efficient health service for as many people as need it, optimal utilisation of resources and to maintain and improve the community's health status.