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.
The European Commission publishes various sets of health indicators based on reliable, comparable data which are essential for designing strategies and policies to improve the health of Europeans, and monitoring their implementation.
EU health indicators
The Commission aims to produce comparable and reliable data on health and health-related behaviour, diseases, and health systems to inform policy-making, using tools such as the State of Health in the EU knowledge cycle. This needs to be based on common EU health indicators, with agreed definitions, collection and use. These are available through:
- European Core Health Indicators (ECHI), a set of over 60 (reasonably comparable) indicators presented in the ECHI data tool.
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) surveillance data on communicable diseases. See also legislation on communicable diseases.
- other health indicators such as indicators on regional health, urban health, Health Care Quality (HCQI), Sustainable Development (SDI), and youth health.
EU health data
EU health data consists in a mix of administrative health data or data derived from health or social surveys.
As data must be comparable, it is essential to use consistent internationally agreed classification systems, with common concepts and definitions.
Expert Group on Health Information
The Expert Group on Health Information (EGHI) is an advisory group for evidence-based policy made up of representatives from EU countries, European Economic Area countries, possible future EU members, and international organisations.
Joint Action on Health Information
The Joint Action on Health Information (InfAct) was launched on 28 March 2018. InfAct will facilitate the development of a sustainable EU health information infrastructure by improving the availability of comparable, robust and policy-relevant health data and health system performance information.