GATHER promotes best practices in reporting health estimates. A range of health indicators are used to monitor population health and guide resource allocation throughout the world. But the lack of data for some regions and differing measurement methods present challenges that are often addressed by using statistical modeling techniques to generate coherent estimates based on often disparate sources of data.
GATHER is a checklist of 18 items that should be reported every time new global health estimates are published, including descriptions of input data and estimation methods. Developed by a working group convened by the World Health Organization, the guidelines aim to define and promote good practice in reporting health estimates.
Research reported using GATHER will provide key information that allows scientists and decision-makers to evaluate its quality. Detailed explanations of methods will facilitate reproduction of results by researchers anywhere in the world and potentially allow them to make further advances.
EXPLANATION AND ELABORATION
What are health estimates?
Health estimates include all quantitative population-level estimates (including global, regional, national, or subnational estimates) of health indicators. GATHER is designed to guide the reporting of estimates of a subset of health indicators: indicators of health status, such as estimates of total and cause-specific mortality and incidence and prevalence of diseases and injuries; and indicators of some proximal health determinants, such as health behaviors and health exposures. Details on the health indicators that are within GATHER’s scope are in the GATHER Statement.
GATHER is designed for studies that calculate health estimates for multiple populations (e.g., over time or space) by combining a variety of information sources. These reporting guidelines do not target reports of a health indicator from a single study or data source, such as a health examination survey.
Who should use GATHER?
Authors of all new publications of health estimates included in GATHER’s scope should use GATHER to ensure that their data and methods are appropriately documented. Authors estimating health indicators that are not within GATHER’s scope may find that the GATHER checklist is a useful guide for documenting data and methods.