Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Book

Health Information on the Internet: A Study of Providers, Quality, and Users

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 14 September 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:607

Healthcare Information For All by 2015

By 2015, every person worldwide will have access to an informed
healthcare provider. The availability of relevant, reliable clinical
knowledge will no longer be a major contributing factor to mortality and
morbidity in the developing world.

This is the goal of a new global campaign, “Healthcare Information
For All by 2015” (HIFA2015). The campaign is being launched by the
Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA), Global
Healthcare Information Network, and other partners, at the 10th AHILA
Congress in Mombasa, Kenya, on 26th October 2006. Several international,
regional and national organisations are engaging with the initiative,
which was first proposed in an article two years ago by Godlee and
colleagues in The Lancet.[1]

The article noted that, despite some important steps forward in
meeting information needs at the ‘upper’ echelons of the health profession
(research and tertiary care), remarkably little progress had been made in
meeting the information and learning needs of primary and district
healthcare providers in the developing world. It described the creation
and exchange of information as a complex system - one that is variously
sketched at a superficial level, but whose complexities, drivers and
barriers are poorly understood, let alone managed. If we are to make
progress, the article proposed, we need better communication, cooperation
and understanding among the diverse stakeholder groups - information
professionals, librarians, publishers, technologists, researchers,
healthcare providers, and others (Fig 1).

Since the publication of the Lancet article, there have been other
calls for similar concerted action. Chen et al,[2] for example, have called
for “all our efforts to ensure universal access to a skilled, motivated,
supported healthcare provider”. There has also been increased global
attention on the need to strengthen health systems in general, and human
resources in particular. There is growing recognition of the need for a
‘seismic’ paradigm shift to address the diverse needs of healthcare
providers: Skills, Equipment, Information, Structural support, Medicines,
Incentives and Communication facilities.

HIFA2015 will focus on the healthcare information (clinical
knowledge) needs of family carers, primary and district level providers in
low-income countries. It will not itself be a provider or channel of
health information, but will facilitate communication and understanding
among stakeholders through a range of advocacy tools - email discussion
platforms, meetings, and publications, and the collective development of a
HIFA2015 Knowledge Base, exploring the drivers and barriers in the
creation and exchange of healthcare information, and ways to achieve
universal access to essential healthcare information. Together these will
provide the evidence and advocacy needed to increase political and
financial commitment for the achievement of ‘Healthcare Information For
All by 2015’.

One email discussion group has already been established in
cooperation with the International Child Health Group of the Royal College
of Paediatrics and Child Health: Child Healthcare Information and Learning
Discussion group (CHILD2015),[3] which is working towards a future where
every child has access to an informed healthcare provider. A second email
discussion group, HIFA2015, is being launched on 9th October 2006 to
support the general aims of the campaign.[4] To join these groups, send your
name, organisation and brief description of professional interests to: and/or .

Can the goal of ‘Healthcare Information For All by 2015’ be achieved?
As Pang et al wrote earlier this year, the challenge is “to ensure that
everyone in the world can have access to clean, clear, knowledge - a basic
human right, and a public health need as important as access to clean,
clear, water, and much more easily achievable”.[5] With current advances in
information technologies the goal of ‘Healthcare Information For All by
2015’ is readily achievable, provided we acknowledge its importance and
work together.

Figure 1: The HIFA2015 Campaign will link communication, collective
understanding and effective action to ensure that the availability of
healthcare information is no longer a major barrier to the delivery of
safe, effective healthcare

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Coordinator

Frederick Bukachi, Co-director

Rachel Stancliffe, Co-director
Global Healthcare Information Network

Ibrahima Bob, President
Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa

Correspondence to:
Neil Pakenham-Walsh

1 Godlee F et al. Can we achieve health information for all by 2015?
Lancet 2004; 364:295-300

2 Chen et al

3 CHILD2015:

4 HIFA2015:

5 Pang T et al. A 15th grand challenge for global public health. Lancet
2006; 367:284-286.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 October 2006
Neil Pakenham-Walsh
Frederick Bukachi, Co-director; Rachel Stancliffe, Co-director
Global Healthcare Information Network