VHL as a model of information management and knowledge sharing
The model of information management adopted by the VHL is based on the premise that the access to information and scientific and technical knowledge are social determinants for health development.
The processes of decision making in health area are more efficient and effective when subsidized by quality information sources. The action capacity of the actors involved in these processes including managers, professionals, researchers, students and citizens, increases directly and proportionally with the level of quality information and knowledge available. The challenge is to establish links between knowledge production and the use of this knowledge to strengthen the relationships between science and society.
This consciousness about the importance of information as raw material to action passes through the different dimensions of health, from the spaces of definition of public policies by planners and managers, until the adoption of healthy behaviors and defense of the constitutional right to health by population. The dissemination of scientific knowledge is therefore an essential prerequisite to make actions and effective changes in health practices and to establish social and health policies.
As a general plan, the centrality that VHL attributes to the access and use of information is aligned with the paradigm of the Information or Knowledge Society. Initiatives included in this context, such as the Open Access movement, digital and informational inclusion, social use of technological resources, among others, represent the challenges with which the VHL contributes in a determinant way to overcome them.
In Latin America and Caribbean the situation on health is aggravated due to the profound socioeconomic inequalities, the extreme poverty and inequity in access to basic health services. To use the information and knowledge for the development of the health of people of the Americas requires the adoption of approaches that are constantly renewed in a dynamic process of innovation.
The more general view of the Information Society as well as the particularities of the region demonstrate the relevance of the adoption of mechanisms for sharing quality information in order to allow the countries to exchange accumulated experiences and adapt them to the circumstances and local needs. The network cooperative work in the production of the information sources ensures the shared use of standards and quality control criteria that give reliability to the information assembled in the VHL, unlike the other search mechanisms that operate on the internet.
This model is conforme through the contribution of different areas of knowledge, specially information science, scientific communication, library science, scientometrics, computer science, health sciences among others.