A major objective of the EU Public Health strategy is to produce comparable information on health and health systems in the EU. By establishing a health monitoring system, the EU aims to improve information and knowledge on public health. The work includes definition of indicators, collection of health data, relevant statistical analysis, regular reporting on health status, and the exchange of best practice in the public health field at European level.
The previous public health monitoring programme started the process of collecting health data and establishing indicators for improvements in data collection and analysis. The new Public Health Programme continues the work on indicators and data collection for the further development of health monitoring structures: the analysis of data needs, definition of indicators and quality assurance, technical support for national efforts, data collection, reporting and analysis, and promotion of the results. The collaboration and close coordination with Eurostat and its partnership groups is of the utmost importance. The system should complement the activities of international organisations such as the WHO and OECD.
Within this framework, the EU is supporting regular European health status reports to present accurate data on health and ensure their wide dissemination. The aim is to improve public knowledge and understanding of major health problems in the EU in order to support the appropriate measures at EU, Member State or individual levels. The following topics are key areas of activity: health determinants and health status, analysis of future health scenarios and policy options, the economic and social burden of alcohol, issues relating to reproductive health and HIV/AIDS, the economic and social burden of mental health and other related diseases in Europe, as well as injuries in the EU, including self-inflicted injuries and violence, and gender health.
Moreover, the data collected on Healthy Life Years (HLY) — measuring the number of remaining years that a person of a certain age should be able to live in good health — are a solid indicator for monitoring health as a productivity/economic factor, and providing an interesting overview of key features of the health status of the population and of health determinants.