Progress towards Health Information Systems

  • Michael Alderson


A health information system has been defined as “a mechanism for the collection, processing, analysis, and transmission of information required for organizing and operating health services, and also for research and training” (Alderson, 1973). This definition, terse as it is, implies that there are four rather distinct aims of a system — to assist management, to aid clinical study, to facilitate research, and to serve as a tool in teaching. During this talk I shall be concentrating on the first aim. In order to put the topic in perspective it is worth recalling that Florence Nightingale (l863) advocated the regular collection of a wide range of standard particulars to ascertain the results of particular treatments and special operations. She also suggested that the whole question of hospital economics as influenced by diets, medicines, and comforts could be brought under examination and discussion. Florence Nightingale was also keen to extend the study of data to out-patients. I will endeavour to distinguish ideas such as those of the 19th century pioneers from current practice and plans for the future.


Perinatal Mortality Health Information System Routine Data Hospital Discharge Data Special Survey 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Alderson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SouthamptonUK

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