Background: A well-functioning routine health information system (RHIS) provides informational support at all levels of health management: operations, planning, policy making, surveillance and quality improvement. Poor information support is a major obstacle. Given its centrality, there is a need for an up-to-date systematic review on the effectiveness of RHIS interventions for health systems management.
Aim: This review assesses the effects of interventions to improve RHIS for health systems management. The objectives are: 1) to describe intervention types; 2) to assess the effectiveness of RHIS interventions; and, 3) to better understand the context of RHIS effectiveness studies.
Method: The following methodological standards are being employed to ensure scientific rigour: independent, double screening of abstracts; assessing risk of bias of included study designs, and assessing quality of evidence for each key outcome using the GRADE approach. The Performance of Routine Information Systems Management framework will guide the analysis.
Results: We reviewed 12 265 abstracts and are in the process of reviewing full texts. We will report findings of included studies: their intervention types, effectiveness to improve RHIS and health systems management; health status and population health outcomes; and secondary outcomes (equity and adverse events). Where feasible, we will report contextual factors influencing RHIS intervention outcomes. If we cannot pool study results because settings or interventions are too heterogeneous, we will describe findings using a structured synthesis.
Conclusion: Being able to access and use sound data from good information systems is crucial to health systems functioning; more so for low- and middle- income countries where health indicators are poor. Our findings will be used to assist policy makers and managers in their information systems choices, by offering synthesised evidence as to which RHIS improvement interventions are most effective.