An indicator is a quantitative or qualitative measure of how close we are to achieving a set goal (policy outcome). They help us analyse and compare performance across population groups or geographic areas, and can be useful for determining policy priorities. Health indicators based on reliable, comparable data are essential for designing strategies and policies to improve the health of Europeans, and monitoring their implementation.
The European Commission already publishes various sets of health indicators and data, which will continue to be used and expanded to incorporate emerging health considerations.
Health information strategy
The Experts Group on Health Information (EGHI) is a consultative structure with representatives from all the Member States to support the overall implementation mechanisms for the health strategy with regard to health information. The Non-paper on "Health Information System European Research Infrastructure Consortium" – HIS ERIC(52 KB) aims to define a proposal on a long-term health information and knowledge system that will provide for harmonized and comparable indicators at national and at EU level with the objective of following trends, serving as a foundation for evidence-based policy and being a basis for research projects.
For DG SANCO policy, the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) implements the European Cancer Information System (ECIS).
EU health indicators
One of the Commission's aims is to produce comparable data on health and health-related behaviour, diseases and health systems.
This needs to be based on common EU health indicators, for which there is Europe-wide agreement regarding definitions, collection and use:
Consistent use of internationally-agreed classification systems, with their common concepts and definitions, is essential if data is to be registered and codified in a standardised manner, so it and the indicators based on it are comparable.
Discussion Paper: European health information – objectives and organisation(83 KB)