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Concept help - Indicator

An indicator describes a measure that is regularly reported for tracking performance of a process or policy, and provides relevant and actionable information about system performance. Indicators can reference Data Elements when defining their component parts, such as numerators and denominators, and Indicators may be linked across multiple Indicator Sets to track performance over time.

A health indicator is a single measure that is reported on regularly and that provides relevant and actionable information about population health and/or health system performance and characteristics. An indicator can provide comparable information, as well as track progress and performance over time.

Health indicators support provinces/territories, regional health authorities and facilities as they monitor the health of their populations and track how well their local health systems function. Canadian Institute for Health Information - Indicators

The drivers for standard development arise from the need for better information - whether it is statistical, administrative, clinical or other information. This ensures the data used in statistics is compatible and it facilitates National and International interoperability. Australian Institute for Health and Welfare - About Indicators

Tips for creating Indicators

Indicators should be clearly defined and specify the Data Elements used in their calculations. If the resulting value type of an Indicator is known ahead of time it can be specified by attaching a Value Domain to clearly code the value and provides a valuable linkage to other similar indicators.

Once an indicator has been saved, numerator and denominator Data Elements as well as Outcome Areas can be attached from the Indicator page.

Fields available on this metadata type

Field ISO definition
Name The primary name used for human identification purposes.
Definition Representation of a concept by a descriptive statement which serves to differentiate it from related concepts. (3.2.39)
Origin The source (e.g. document, project, discipline or model) for the item (
Comments Descriptive comments about the metadata item (
Computation Description
Numerator Description
Denominator Description
Disaggregation Description
Quality Statement A statement of multiple quality dimensions for the purpose of assessing the quality of the data for reporting against this Indicator.
Reporting Information

Official Definition

A particular characteristic or dimension used to measure intended changes defined by an organisational unit’s results framework. Performance indicators are used to observe progress and to measure actual results compared to expected results. They serve to answer “how” or “whether” a unit is progressing towards its objectives, rather than “why” or “why not” such progress is being made. Performance indicators are usually expressed in quantifiable terms, and should be objective and measurable (e.g., numeric values, percentages, scores, and indices). Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluating for Results. United Nations Development Programme, Evaluation Office, NY, 2002.