Health data are mainly collected through surveys, through hospital discharges, disease registers, administrative records and sentinel networks.
Data collection tools
Improving health reporting mechanisms
The Commission is working actively on the EU health information system, to provide high-quality, fully comparable data by improving health reporting mechanisms.
European health survey system (EHSS)
Health surveys collect data directly self reported by people in health interview surveys (HIS) or collected by examination in health examination surveys (HES).
The European health survey system (EHSS) completes the picture of the Europeans' health by adding a subjective dimension to objective indicators on health.
European health examination survey (EHES)
A health examination survey (HES) is a population-based survey with measurements going beyond questionnaire data (interview or self-completed), such as blood pressure, blood samples, tests of functional capacity etc.
They provide crucial information for healthcare planning and health promotion that cannot be obtained in any other way. The Commission is developing a European health examination survey.
Primary-care-based sentinel practice networks are a valuable source of information on selected health indicators, especially diseases for which (i) a professional medical diagnosis is important and (ii) other data sources are less appropriate.
These networks are able to provide epidemiological information on selected diseases and conditions.
Information collection system for hospital activities
The information collection system for hospital activities consists mainly of statistics from hospital discharges established, according to the common framework International Classification for Hospital Morbidity Tabulation (ISHMT), by Eurostat, WHO and OECD.
They may give estimates on the burden caused by certain diseases and are considered to show approximate incidence for some diseases.
The Commission needs tools such as disease registers to measure the impact of diseases, morbidity, in order to provide an information basis for the adoption of specific strategies.