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J Health Commun. 2012;17 Suppl 2:30-45. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2012.666625.

Understanding health information needs and gaps in the health care system in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Author information

  • 1Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. nanditakk@gmail.com

Abstract

Health information and the channels that facilitate the flow and exchange of this information to and among health care providers are key elements of a strong health system that offers high-quality services,yet few studies have examined how health care workers define, obtain, and apply information in the course of their daily work. To better understand health information needs and barriers across all of levels of the health care system, the authors conducted a needs assessment in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Data collection consisted of 46 key informant interviews and 9 focus group discussions. Results of the needs assessment pointed to the following themes: (a) perceptions or definitions of health information related to daily tasks performed at different levels of the health system; (b) information flow in the public health structure; (c) need for practical information; and (d) criteria for usability of information. This needs assessment found that health information needs vary across the health system in Uttar Pradesh. Information needs are dynamic and encompass programmatic and service delivery information. Providing actionable information across all levels is a key means to strengthen the health system and improve the quality of services. An adequate assessment of health information needs, including opportunities, barriers, and gaps, is a prerequisite to designing effective communication of actionable information.

PMID:
22724670
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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