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Public Health Informatics Institute



The Institute is a project of the non for profit Task Force for Global Health. The Task for Global Health aims to provide solutions to international health situations through cooperation and collaboration among health organizations and professionals. The Institute assits in achieving this mission by allowing for research and discussion to provide informatic solutions for health professionals. At the center of the PHII mission, is the importance of collaboration. Bringing together public health professionals, information system designers, and communications professionals, PHII drafts reports and recommendations on the best approaches to public health information systems. In doing so they wish to develop a comprehensive list of competencies.

All of this comes in the interest of improving community based health practices. PHII also functions with a set of values at its core. These values are:

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Customer Focus
  • Quality
  • Teamwork and Collaboration

The PHII also has intended users separated into three categories according to their needs.

  • Public health informaticians
    • Assess current skill levels
    • Create create career development plans
  • Employers
    • Create career ladders for informaticians
    • Develop training plans
    • Develop position descriptions and job qualifications
    • Assess overall informatics capacity
  • Educators
    • Design competency-based education and training
    • Enhance existing coursework

Example's of PHII At work:
PHII has a focus of 4 Key Subject Areas:
  1. Child Health Information Systems- " We lead efforts to link data gained from separate child health programs, such as newborn hearing screening, dried blood spot, and other steps toward early detection.
  2. IT Strategy- "We offer project experience working with public health organizations to help define the business case, outlining the costs, benefits, and efficiencies of a proposed information system."
  3. Requirements Development-"Using expert facilitation, the Institute assist public health agencies in performing functional, workflow, and business process analysis."
  4. Performance Improvement- "We understand that public health departments are called upon to establish a strong business case for enterprise-level systems, develop comprehensive requirements specifications, and prepare evaluation plans that quantify and demonstrate the effect of a new system on program performance."

Work completed by PHII address topics such as:

Outside Work:

The Public Health Informatics Institute has a partnership with the United States center for disease control in Atlanta, Georgia. Through this partnership several projects have been initiated which include the e-Public health project, the Countermeasures Inventory Tracking project, the Distribute project, the Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce, and the Public Health EHR project.

e-Public Health: e-Public Health is the use and innovation of technologies that improve, and influence, the policy and practice as applied to the health of the public. The CDC utilizes e-Public Health technology within the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory services (CSELS) in order to assist the altering of knowledge and information technologies for the digital age. This guidance allows a focus on public health informatics policy, provides funding to appropriate areas, and creates an effective and viable use of information and information technology by public health agencies.

Countermeasures Inventory Tracking: Countermeasure Inventory Tracking system is a national system used by both federal emergency officials, and state emergency authorities. The system provides a critical need in lending the ability to monitor the availability of essential medical, and non-medical, countermeasures within a commercial drug sector and public health agencies. The system consistently updates and monitors data of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals such that in the case of a disturbance or emergency, an official can be assisted in the decision making process of releasing stockpiled assets.

Distribute: Distribute is a system that creates surveillance and monitoring of the spread of disease through the public. During the H1N1 epidemic the CDC was able to expand the Distribute program by expanding the number of sites adopting its system, as well as increasing system functionality. The Distribute system itself operates by collecting and compiling information about influenza-like illinesses from emergency departments present at both the state and local level. Distribute has also done work in integrating with Electronic Health Records and data quality, and outlier, monitoring.

Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce: The Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce is an amalgamation of several public health associations that are promised to improving the health of the general population through coordinated informatics policy and action. The Public Health Informatics Institute serves as the Secretariat to the Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce, and supports the taskforce in its goal to to achieve agreement on major informatics policies and activities. Through this the assocations look to unify advocacy for public policy issues regarding health reform, health information techonlogy police, and public health informatics practice.

Public Health EHR: The Public Health Informatics Institute works with CSELS (The Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, Laboratory Services) on an interoperability standard dawned the Collaborative Requirements Development Methodology (CDRM). The CDRM’s goal is to define requirements all health departments are able to utilize in order to find an existing EHR system that best meets their needs. [1]

Web Resources:

Public Health Informatics Competencie


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 06 Aug. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.

My Opinion:

Upon research of this topic, I think the most advantageous component of PHII is its emphasis on collaboration and its method of collecting information. Firstly, PHII values collaboration to no end. Collecting the thoughts, wisdom, and expertise of professionals from the three inter-related fields (public health, information systems, communication), in my opinion, leads to immediately usable results.

Secondly, PHII makes use of on site visits, interviews with professionals and person to person meetings to collect and compile data and information. This stuck out to me, I find it refreshing to see that an entity aimed at improving information systems doesn't rely on information systems but rather people to determine how the solution shall best be reached. The value of personal interaction is often overlooked when trying to solve "computational" issues.

Work Samples: