Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
COHN, Amélia; WESTPHAL, Márcia Faria and ELIAS, Paulo Eduardo. Data and the process of formulating health policies. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.39, n.1, pp. 114-121. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102005000100015.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the use of the available information systems in decision-making process involving municipalities' health services, since technical scientific information is becoming an important tool for managers' decision-making both in the private and public sectors. METHODS: Four case studies were undertaken in the state of Sao Paulo between 1998 and 2000. The municipalities included in this study varied in size and in terms of the of complexity of their health systems. Research involved the use of both quantitative (survey of epidemic, demographic, economic-financial and social indicators) and qualitative methods (interviews with key actors and focus group). "Triangulation" was adopted in the analysis in order to establish an articulation among the diverse sources of data and methodological procedures utilized. RESULTS: The strategy of implementation of the Unified Health System (SUS) in itself implies in a pattern of consumption of information already available in large data banks within public institutions and local production of information concerning, primarily, the financial dimension of the city or district, whatever its size, the complexity of the local health system and the type of health administration. CONCLUSIONS: The information available on the data banks are, in general, considered outdated with respect to the immediate needs of local health managers. The equipment infrastructure and training of human resources in health data management were considered precarious for use in the decision-making process.
Keywords : Policy making; Access to information; Health policy; Social control, formal; SUS [BR].