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ERIC Number: ED566208
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3037-2365-0
The Perceived and Real Value of Health Information Exchange in Public Health Surveillance
Dixon, Brian Edward
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Public health agencies protect the health and safety of populations. A key function of public health agencies is surveillance or the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data about health-related events. Recent public health events, such as the H1N1 outbreak, have triggered increased funding for and attention towards the improvement and sustainability of public health agencies' capacity for surveillance activities. For example, provisions in the final U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) "meaningful use" criteria ask that physicians and hospitals report surveillance data to public health agencies using electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) and syndromic surveillance functionalities within electronic health record (EHR) systems. Health information exchange (HIE), organized exchange of clinical and financial health data among a network of trusted entities, may be a path towards achieving meaningful use and enhancing the nation's public health surveillance infrastructure. Yet the evidence on the value of HIE, especially in the context of public health surveillance, is sparse. In this research, the value of HIE to the process of public health surveillance is explored. Specifically, the study describes the real and perceived completeness and usefulness of HIE in public health surveillance activities. To explore the real value of HIE, the study examined ELR data from two states, comparing raw, unedited data sent from hospitals and laboratories to data enhanced by an HIE. To explore the perceived value of HIE, the study examined public health, infection control, and HIE professionals' perceptions of public health surveillance data and information flows, comparing traditional flows to HIE-enabled ones. Together these methods, along with the existing literature, triangulate the value that HIE does and can provide public health surveillance processes. The study further describes remaining gaps that future research and development projects should explore. The data collected in the study show that public health surveillance activities vary dramatically, encompassing a wide range of paper and electronic methods for receiving and analyzing population health trends. Few public health agencies currently utilize HIE-enabled processes for performing surveillance activities, relying instead on direct reporting of information from hospitals, physicians, and laboratories. Generally HIE is perceived well among public health and infection control professionals, and many of these professionals feel that HIE can improve surveillance methods and population health. Human and financial resource constraints prevent additional public health agencies from participating in burgeoning HIE initiatives. For those agencies that do participate, real value is being added by HIEs. Specifically, HIEs are improving the completeness and semantic interoperability of ELR messages sent from clinical information systems. New investments, policies, and approaches will be necessary to increase public health utilization of HIEs while improving HIEs' capacity to deliver greater value to public health surveillance processes. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A