Building a Digital Bridge to Public Health Agencies | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Building a Digital Bridge to Public Health Agencies

October 12, 2016
by David Raths
| Reprints
EHR vendors, public health agencies, providers working on electronic case reporting

Representatives from public health, health delivery systems and health information technology are working on a project with an ambitious timeline to create bidirectional information flow between public health and healthcare.

The Digital Bridge effort was launched in June 2016 when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) and Deloitte Consulting brought together key members of the public health community, EHR vendors and provider organizations in Chicago.

The stakeholders identified electronic case reporting (eCR) as a natural first step toward achieving the vision. Capitalizing on existing methods for clinical data capture and exchange has potential to increase data consistency, completeness, and timeliness of public health surveillance data, they decided.

An interim governance body is forming this fall, with equal representation from public health, health care delivery systems, and EHR vendors. Workgroups will focus on specific issues and report up to the governance body. These workgroups will seek input from existing eCR and other health data interoperability efforts.

The implementation phase will consist of production sites in various jurisdictions. Production sites, including organizations that are currently exploring eCR, will be recruited by early 2017 and results from these implementations are expected to be available by July 2017.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is serving as the neutral convener for the implementation phase, and John Lumpkin, M.D., M.P.H., a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation senior vice president, is chairing the initial governance body. Deloitte Consulting and the Public Health Informatics Institute are providing program support.

Each of the stakeholder communities made a series of explicit commitments to each other. Public health committed to:

• Develop common trigger codes and a deployable tool that would be used by the vendor and delivery system communities to report cases of reportable conditions to jurisdictions in an automated way;

• Subscribe to common technical standards for the delivery of electronic case reports; and

• Advocate for needed policy and regulatory changes that would enable eCR and digital surveillance.

EHR vendors committed to:

• Work together to develop a common technical standards and solutions for eCR and to enhance those standards and solutions over time as progress is made toward the long-term vision;

 • Provide that work in kind to the public health and delivery system communities.

Delivery system participants committed to:

• Participate in proofs of concept;

• Do in-kind work on their EHR systems to enable the data transmission needed for the proofs of concept.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committed to supporting this work through the phase of developing and implementing shared governance and to assist in securing the funding needed to support the proofs of concept through to completion. Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control also committed to seeking funding sources to support the latter. PHII committed to developing a project plan and project management through the eCR proofs of concept.

Participants set up key tasks that would culminate in successful eCR on a timeline that extended from the June meeting to Jan. 1, 2018. Delivery system participants noted that on that date Meaningful Use objectives would include electronic case reporting.

While the initial production activity will focus on electronic case reporting for infectious diseases, the governance principles and the infrastructure improvements that are developed should also be applicable to chronic conditions and other public health issues, according to the organization.

Here is a list of the Digital Bridge participating organizations:

  • Allscripts
  • Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)
  • Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
  • Cerner
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE)
  • Deloitte
  • eClinical Works
  • Epic
  • HealthPartners/ Park Nicollet Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Meditech
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
  • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
  • Partners Healthcare
  • Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)

 

Get the latest information on Interoperability/Health and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

WellStar Health System Partners with PatientPing for Care Coordination Technology

Marietta, Ga.-based WellStar Health System, the largest health system in Georgia is partnering with PatientPing, a Boston-based health technology company, to use its care coordination technology across the health system.

Senators Introduce Bill to Expand Rural Telehealth Services

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand access to rural telehealth services. The bill would allow non-rural hospitals serving rural areas to qualify for support from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF).

Healthcare Company CoPilot Settles Data Breach with $130K Payment

CoPilot Provider Support Services, a New York-based corporation that provides support services to the healthcare industry, has agreed to pay $130,000 in penalties as part of a settlement to resolve a 2015 data breach that that exposed 221,178 patient records.

Senate Republicans Release Draft of Health Care Bill

On Thursday, Senate Republican leaders, who have promised to repeal former President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation for seven years, moved forward on that goal with the release of a draft of their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which they expect to vote on next week.

Vermont HIE Implements IT Solution for Improved Data Quality

Vermont Information Technology Leaders (VITL), the operator of the Vermont Health Information Exchange, has announced the implementation of a data managing and synthesizing platform in an effort to expand its IT capabilities.

Survey: 75 Percent of CIOs Concerned About Incomplete, Inaccurate Medication Data

Despite multidisciplinary efforts to improve medication reconciliation, hospital CIOs still report unsatisfactory results, with three out of four concerned that their organization’s medication history data is incomplete or inaccurate, according to a new survey conducted by the CHIME Foundation.