Leveraging a Health Information Exchange Innovation to Improve the Efficiency of Public Health Disease Investigation

Year: 2012
Funding: NNPHI PHS Natural Experiment Award
Status: Completed

Back to Grantee Profiles


Structural changes to public health systems, including increased data sharing between Public Health and clinical careagencies, have the potential to affect Public Health's performance of key activities such as case and outbreak investigation. Electronic health records (EHRs) promise to improve clinical, organizational, and societal outcomes through sharing of health data, streamlining workflow, and engaging with stakeholders that are inter-organizationally connected to EHR systems through Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). As a HIE stakeholder, Public Health stands to benefit from sharing high quality health data that can be used to monitor and improve population health, particularly in the areas of disease surveillance and reporting. While notifiable condition (NC) reporting is legally mandated, it is well known that clinical care processes underreport disease events. The Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC) HIE is planning a technical decision-support innovation that will streamline provider-based reporting, the NC-DOCS4DOCS (NCD4D) project. This imminent change in reporting protocol presents the opportunity to conduct a natural experiment in which the impact of NCD4D on public health workflow, communication, and reporting volume can be assessed for impact on a public health agency's organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Our primary objective is to investigate the impact of the NCD4D innovation on the ability of Public Health to conduct provider-based NC reporting. Our central hypothesis is that use of these automated data capture and information enhancements will reduce the burden of NC reporting and related case follow up on Public Health by improving timeliness of NC reporting, reducing volume and duration of communications between disease investigators at public health agencies and clinicians, capturing a greater portion of communicable disease in the community, and resulting in more accurate assessments of the disease burden in a community.



Janet Baseman, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Debra Revere, M.L.I.S., M.A.
University of Washington & Northwest Center for Public Health Practice

Research Areas