The Role of Knowledge Management in the Post-2015 Data Era: Reflections from the Measurement and Accountability for Health Summit
We recently gathered with global leaders to endorse The Roadmap for Health Measurement and Accountability and the Five-Point Call to Action at the Measurement and Accountability for Results in Health Summit. Convened by USAID, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization, the Summit emphasized the need for systematic measurement of health data, collaborative partnerships, and shared purpose and responsibility among health professionals. The roadmap, along with the commitment of global leaders, is meant to serve as a platform for collaboration on health measurement as we move into the post-2015 era.
The roadmap and call to action are quite timely. Although we have made great strides, the health data agenda is unfinished. Limited access to data and usability of data both remain significant challenges to improving measurement and accountability for health. Donors, implementers, and governments all need accessible and usable data, yet they all have varying needs and capacities. As Jon Schwabish, Senior Economist at the Urban Institute and Policyviz.com, put it, we need more “human readable” data. Usable data should be available to those who need it, when they need it, and where they need it.
Knowledge management (KM) plays an essential role.
Knowledge management can and should play a large role in measurement and accountability in the post-2015 era. Knowledge management techniques such as assessing, generating, capturing, synthesizing, and sharing knowledge, can be useful to several actions highlighted in the roadmap.
By increasing access to and usability of data, KM can aid in strengthening data sources and information and accountability platforms. KM techniques can facilitate data synthesis and dissemination specific to key stakeholders and communities who need the data, thus increasing accountability and strengthening health facility data and community health information systems. KM techniques can also help identify and disseminate the “quick wins” to harness lessons learned and improve results. Specifically, data visualization tools can help translate global health wins into clear and actionable formats and serve as advocacy tools.
Another area ripe for KM is coordination. Meeting participants emphasized the critical need for coordinating efforts to ensure interventions are streamlined and efforts are not duplicated. With multiple bilateral and private organizations working in the global health arena, it is of utmost importance that they coordinate with one other to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions.
In sum, KM tools and techniques can be used to collect, synthesize, and present data in the format needed for the audiences who need it, when they need it. These approaches can turn data into “human readable” and human usable formats that can be disseminated to different audiences through various platforms.
In her opening statements, Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), called for increased collaboration to ensure that we as a global community are able to improve and sustain health results through 2030. We are looking forward to collaborating and using KM tools and techniques to propel the roadmap into the next era to help ensure quality health measurement.