Public Health Information Network (PHIN)

Description: PHIN is a national initiative to improve the capacity of public health. PHIN strives to improve public health by enhancing research and practice through best practices related to efficient, effective, and interoperable public health information systems. They do this by supporting the exchange of critical health information between all levels of public health and healthcare Developing requirements, standards, specifications, and an overall architecture in a dynamic way. They also monitor capability of state and local health departments to exchange information they also support advancing supportive policy. they also provide technical assistance to state and local health departments. PHIN is also about facilitating communication and information sharing withing the community.

PHINMS 2.8.00

The release of PHINMS 2.8.00 provides a more intuitive look and feel. Some of the new features of this release include the following:

  • Sender Web Service Adapter,
  • Receiver Web Service Adapter,
  • Alarm alerting and resolution suggestions
  • Registration,
  • Auto Delete, and
  • Multiple Transport Queues
  • Silent Installation

What it does

Public health involves many organizations throughout the PHIN (Public Health Information Network), working together to protect and advance the public's health. These organizations need to use the Internet to securely exchange sensitive data between varieties of different public health information systems. The exchange can be made in text and binary formats like (.doc, .xls, .zip, .txt. .jpeg, .gif, and others) and a standard vocabulary such as HL7. The program uses security and encryption also has a methods for dealing with a variety of firewalls and Internet protection schemes. .
"The PHINMS (Public Health Information Network Messaging System) is the software which makes this work. The system securely sends and receives encrypted data over the Internet to public health information systems using Electronic Business Extensible Markup Language (ebXML) technology. "

Some activites they are involved in:

"A national program to advance this new type of biosurveillance at the national, state, and local levels. They use streams of health data and advanced algorithms for analyzing and visualizing these data streams, the new methods supported by BioSense address the needs of monitoring for infectious diseases, for biological and chemical attacks, and for naturally occurring emergencies." It also does so much more.

PHIN Portal

Portal Features
  • Single place from which to access applications.
  • Single-sign-on when possible.
  • Same logon name and password across all applications.
  • Role based accessl.
  • Same (shared) user profile data across all applications.
  • Secure access control.

With the PHIN portal being a great idea used to revolutionize the way information is being processed, received and sent across the web. There have been many initiatives to help continue the overall push for the PHIN Portal, but one in particular called The Preparedness Initiative helps in implementing, accelerating and the preparedness of the information systems of PHIN. The preparedness system uses the principles of the PHIN to help ensure that all systems related with PHIN will have access to systems to accomplish all functions that are necessary.
One prime example are the anthrax attacks of 2001. The challenges that arose due to the attacks were enormous. Processing and receiving data from multiple data sources created problems because of incompatible data formats between different health document formats.
The PHIN Preparedness process includes[1]
Specifically, the PHIN Preparedness process:
  1. Defines the functional requirements that must be supported. In the PHIN Preparedness initiative, this is done collaboratively with public health partners and serves to establish what public health activities must be supported as an essential step before determining how they must be supported (PHIN Preparedness Functional Requirements: www.cdc.gov/phin). The requirements are divided into separate functional areas, but there is no expectation for a one-to-one correspondence between implemented systems and functional areas.[1]
  2. Identifies relevant industry standards. These standards allow public health to interoperate at the federal, state, and local levels and with clinical care and other networks. The first set of standards designated by the Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) Initiative noted many of those used by PHIN and illustrates the broad acceptance of these standards.[1]
  3. Develops specifications based on these standards that are concrete enough to provide explicit direction for implementation. In PHIN, substantial work has gone into developing industry standard specifications for data exchange messages, vocabularies, and technologies, some of which are listed below:[1]
  • Industry Standard Messaging Specifications: Health Level 7 (HL7) implementation guides for disease case reports, laboratory tests, and laboratory results, and for the exchange of certain clinical care data with public health. Public health–specific messages are based on HL7 version 3, and messages for the exchange of lab/clinical care data with public health are based on HL7 version 2 messaging standards.
  • Industry Standard Vocabularies for messages and data models: Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes (LOINC), Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED), ICD-10 for mortality, ICD-9CM for morbidity, and HL7 Vocabularies.
  • Secure, Bidirectional Automated Exchange of Data over the Internet: ebXML (built on Simple Object Access Protocol [SOAP] Web services), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). This can be implemented with any software, but is made available to our partners through the PHIN Messaging System (PHIN MS).2
  • Strong Security: Used for authentication, digital signature, and encryption of data/information using PKI are a part of the e-Gov E-Authentication initiative.3 Data are transmitted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) over the CDC's Secure Data Network. Currently, CDC has issued over 4,700 certificates nationally to use this system.
  • Directories of Public Health and Clinical Personnel: Used to identify people, roles, and contact information for public health participants and supports exchange among partners based on Lightweight Access Directory Protocol's (LDAP) Directory Service Markup Language (DSML).
  • Alerts and Notifications for Public Health and Clinical Personnel: Used to send alerts and notifications to specific roles and appropriate public health participants and being developed around the Common Alerting Protocol.4
  • Information Presentation and Knowledge Management: Metadata for organizing public health information for searches and presentation on the Internet and by other means such as alerts. Standards used include Medical Subject Headings (MESH), ISO-11179, Dublin Core, LOINC, SNOMED, ICD-9CM, expressed through the Public Health Thesaurus extension of the National Library of Medicine Metthesaurus.
4. Makes software solutions available that can be used to fill functional needs. These solutions range from complete applications to services that perform specific functions. The CDC has developed this software for public health partners who do not have systems that meet the functional requirements or specifications. Descriptions of CDC-developed software designed to support preparedness is available in Appendix 2 as an online JAMIA data supplement at www.jamia.org.
5. Certifies that partner capabilities meet the functions and specifications. The CDC provides certification tools to support self-assessment against functional requirements and validation of electronic data messages. Formal certification, delivered by an external certification team, follows self-assessment.

Web Resources:
[1] https://apps.dhs.state.or.us/phinPortal/pal?page=Help&context=PHINPortal