Country-Led, Holistic Data Quality Assurance: Institutionalizing Data Quality through a National Technical Working Group and the Data Quality Review
Data quality review (DQR) is a method to rapidly evaluate the quality and adequacy of health data used for planning. The DQR aims to institutionalize data quality assessment as a systematic and routine aspect of health sector and program planning and provide a minimum standard of quality for health data. It is intended to be applied across program areas to provide a holistic picture of a country’s data quality from health facility-based information systems and identify areas in need of strengthening. The method and indicators for the DQR have been developed in consultation with international health program experts from leading donor and technical assistance agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), with consensus on a minimum standard for data quality. The DQR is a suite of tools and guidelines. The DQR electronic tools facilitate data collection and analysis. The guidelines provide instructions for collecting the data, preparing the data for analysis, conducting the data verifications, analyzing and interpreting results, and indicating how and when to apply the methods. The electronic analysis tools facilitate data analysis and presentation, as well as the identification of problematic data points and subnational reporting units. The DQR contributes to the vision of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of improving the evidence base for public health monitoring, evaluation, and planning, by improving the quality of routine health data. The USAID- and PEPFAR-funded MEASURE Evaluation assisted in the development of the DQR and tested approaches to improve country ownership and leadership of data quality assurance. A routine, holistic, and country-led system of data quality assurance can help institutionalize data quality in countries. This document provides guidance for establishing a technical working group (TWG) for holistic data quality centered around the DQR. It includes best practices for the TWG as well as implementation steps for the DQR. The TWG is modeled after the successful example of the interagency coordinating committees (ICCs) established for immunization in many countries.