SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Zakia Bouachraoui, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum


EHR Facilitating Population Health Surveillance

EHR vendors across the board are participating in the Public Health Electronic Health Records Vendors Collaboration initiative

Population health management requires a complete re-haul of strategies to come up with innovative methodologies that are supported by new technologies. Population health management has come a long way but there is considerable room for further improvement and automation.

The government aims to create value from the perspective of the patient and improving healthcare. Implementing a system that encompasses the entire industry requires considerable investment. However, Community Health Systems EHR is a cost effective solution.

EHR vendors across the board are participating in the Public Health Electronic Health Records Vendors Collaboration initiative. The sole purpose of doing so is to meet Stage 1 and 2 of Meaningful Use public health objectives.

Meaningful use is based on usage of EHR to improve clinical outcomes, increase transparency, develop research data for health care and improve public health outcomes. For these goals to be achieved a community health systems EHR is of paramount importance. It will enable accurate recording and compilation of data which could be used for informed decision making.

Meaningful use has three objectives:

  • Data capture and sharing
  • Advanced clinical processes
  • Improved outcomes

Such initiatives have been taken to ensure data generation on a macro level and this could only be achieved by demonstrating meaningful use of certified EHRs. To facilitate the adoption of community health systems EHR by practitioners the government is encouraging through Medicare EHR incentive payments. However To receive a Medicare payment certain condition have to be met.

These include:


  • · Verify eligibility for Medicare EHR Incentive Program
  • · Get registered for EHR incentive program.
  • · Use certifies EHR technology
  • · Demonstrate meaningful use.
  • · Attest to demonstrating meaningful use.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), electronic health records can transform public health surveillance through data generation and monitoring. Public health surveillance has come a long way in the United States from tracking diseases to proactively identifying new diseases that could adversely affect the community. The idea is to not only cure but to prevent from diseases which mean the health department has to actively seek new ways and procedures to collect data. The data is the first step in monitoring community health because it provides a clear picture of population health.

Advancements in Health IT led to the introduction of electronic health records. EHR establishes and strengthens the link between health care providers and public health department. These are key two stakeholders who have a direct impact on collection and utilization of the data collection through EHR. By bridging the gap between these two stakeholders EHR has the ability to facilitate advancements in public health.

Here are the basic tasks that give a basic snapshot of how things work to improve surveillance


  • · Collect
  • · Assemble
  • · Analyze
  • Share the information and statics

Similar to big data analysis in any industry, healthcare surveillance is about constant and systematic data management and is one of the key components of healthcare department. To manage information on such a level is always challenging but EHR community based system can assist in data generation regardless of the scope and magnitude.

The outcomes that community health systems EHR could facilitate in population health surveillance are as follows:

  • Look at changes in patients and health practice
  • Monitor environmental agents
  • Evaluation of current methods of control and prevention
  • Look at the historical patterns of diseases
  • Shape and improve the future direction of public health surveillance

Such integration ensures efficient deployment of resources by accommodating multiple data sources that would streamline data to ensure effective automation. One important variable that makes community health systems EHR even more useful is the fact that healthcare industry consists of multiple entities or organizations. It is the cross functional communication and dissemination of data that is the key to effective data reporting. Being able to share standardized information from electronic health records facilitates interoperability.

Given that her offers enormous benefits, more research needs to go into establish electronic health records systems which are adapted to provide granular data that enables public health policy development and implementation. The future of EHR and public health surveillance lies in development of local and national level policies that are based on hard data and could be used to mobilize initiatives that identify and provide solutions to health problems.

More Stories By Aiden Spencer

Aiden Spencer is a health IT researcher and writer at CureMD who focuses on various engaging and informative topics related to the health IT industry. He loves to research and write about topics such as Affordable Care Act, electronic health records, Medical Practice management and patient health data.

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