Using Public Health Information in the E-Health Decade

Articulating strategies for public health informatics

Dates of Project: December 2012 through December 2013

Description: Electronic health records, social media, and cloud and mobile computing are challenging public health leaders to move from simply gathering data to rapidly analyzing and publicizing them.

“Public health tends to be operational rather than strategic. People rarely have time to think about the future.”—David Ross, ScD, director of the Task Force for Global Health

In response, the Public Health Informatics Institute at the Task Force for Global Health in Decatur, Ga., developed four scenarios reflecting different forecasts for the U.S. economy, health care, and information technology. Project staff then convened experts to use the scenarios to suggest strategies for harnessing informatics to improve public health.

Key Recommendations

  • In Public Health Informatics 2023: Alternative Scenarios, project leaders outlined recommendations from the workshop, such as:

    • Develop evidence on the effectiveness of public health informatics in improving health and lowering health care costs.
    • Make public health analytical tools and information widely available to both public health agencies and clinical health care systems, to support collaborative data analysis and learning.
    • Focus on neighborhoods when analyzing and visualizing data on specific health challenges.
    • Create an institution that tracks and assesses programs that affect the social determinants of health.

“Health-empowered citizens want information on how their neighborhood is affecting their health today, and how it will affect them tomorrow.”—David Ross, ScD

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@PHInformatics is creating strategies for using e-health to improve public health in 10 years.