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Open data for transparency and accountability in health service delivery: What's new in the digital age?

Open data platforms have a great unexplored potential. Publicly available health data can make service delivery more transparent and accountable. Experience from Peru, Mexico and Uruguay show how civil society can engage with governments in open data initiatives. This is not just for technologists – journalists and human rights groups can lead the push for better services. Success relies on financial and human resource capacity and political will. Researchers should explore how to secure sustainable open data infrastructure, and monitor their effect on actual health outcomes.

29 August 2018
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Main points

  • Open data initiatives show significant potential to improve health service delivery by improving transparency and accountability in the system and allowing health users to have more voice and a wider range of choice of provider where the system allows this.
  • The main enabling factor for open health data to work well is the government’s willingness to make data more accessible, and to embrace and act on issues disclosed by the data.
  • Feedback loops in open data projects are important in order to create virtuous circles of data collection, publication and use that can improve the data and its infrastructure over time.
  • The capacity of traditional public service organisations to use data needs to be developed.
  • The theories of change for open data projects need to have clear causal mechanisms and feasible objectives.
  • Lastly, we need further exploration and research on how to ensure the sustainability of open data infrastructure, and on whether open data can improve actual health outcomes.

Cite this publication

Scrollini, F.; (2018) Open data for transparency and accountability in health service delivery: What's new in the digital age?. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2018:6)

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About the author

Fabrizio Scrollini

Fabrizio Scrollini is the executive coordinator of the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA), and member of the Open Data Network for Development (OD4D). He is also the Chairman of DATA Uruguay, a civic association based in Uruguay that builds civic technology to promote human development, co-founder of Abrelatam and the Open Data Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, and is one of the Lead Stewards of the International Charter of Open Data. Fabrizio worked with governments, regulators and civil society at international and regional level on transparency, access to public information, open data projects and public sector reform. Fabrizio holds a PhD in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


health sector, ICTs, Latin America, Mexico, Uruguay, Peru