Can India’s Health Information Management System (HMIS) data be relied upon for estimates of population-level birth and child mortality rates?

A series of graphs that compare neonatal mortality rates from HMIS administrative data to national survey data in India

This study is one of the first to compare facility-based, administrative health data on births and child deaths to birth and death vital statistics from the more commonly relied upon nationally representative surveys, such as the Sample Registration System and the National Family Health System, at national and state levels over a four-year period. Although the study authors (including Pritha Chatterjee, Harvard Bell Fellow Aashish Gupta, and HCPDS faculty member S V Subramanian) found HMIS to underestimate birth, and to a larger extent, mortality rates, they point out its value given, especially in the event of a “shock” or outbreak, that it is publicly available and regularly updated.

“With efforts to address the limitations of HMIS underlined in previous sections, the administrative dataset can emerge as a treasure trove of publicly available, real-time data to understand population-level vital statistics in a timely manner in India.”