Health and Web: Public Health Surveillance and Informatics …

Keeping our finger on the pulse of public health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) s Public Health Surveillance and Informatics Program Office (PHSIPO) (proposed) advances the science and practice of public health surveillance and informatics two essential and closely related public health disciplines. We accomplish this mission by

  • managing several large public health surveillance systems that provide value to multiple CDC programs and partners;
  • providing informatics services that support surveillance and other public health information infrastructures both within and outside CDC and from local to national levels; and
  • serving as the focal point at CDC for addressing common issues, fostering innovation, and advancing best practices in public health surveillance and informatics. Virtually every part of CDC conducts surveillance and is affected by evolving uses of health information technologies (HIT).

Public health surveillance involves collecting, managing, analyzing, interpreting, and disseminating information about the health of populations to increase the effectiveness of public health programs. Public health informatics concerns the role of automation to manage, exchange, and ensure effective use of electronic health and program management information. The two disciplines connect with the rapidly growing use of electronic health records in clinical practice and automated information management systems in laboratories using electronic laboratory reporting. These tools promise improved healthcare services for individual patients, better ability for healthcare providers to monitor and improve the quality of their healthcare services, enhanced information sharing between healthcare and public health for population health monitoring, and greater healthcare public health collaboration. Managing surveillance and informatics together within PHSIPO addresses surveillance and informatics concerns that are shared across CDC and supports combined strategic planning for the two disciplines. In addition, it improves emergency preparedness through the enhanced ability to rapidly share critical public health information. Working together with our partners and stakeholders, both in CDC and externally, PHSIPO can achieve our vision: Health decisions and actions are guided by timely and useful information. PHSIPO s vision is that health decisions and actions are guided by timely and useful information. PHSIPO s mission is to advance the science and practice of public health surveillance and informatics. PHSIPO s values govern our operations and how we conduct our relationships with internal stakeholders and those at the federal, state, local, and territorial levels. We have four main values: 1) people, 2) innovation, 3) excellence, and 4) service.

  1. Strengthen the quality, timeliness, accessibility, and use of public health surveillance information
  2. Strengthen the ability of public health agencies to access, use, and share information
  3. Foster innovation, identify best practices, and share knowledge in public health surveillance and informatics
  4. Improve organizational capability

PHSIPO is composed of the following divisions and activities:

  • The Division of Behavioral Surveillance (DBS) designs and manages state and local surveillance activities that provide integrated disease, risk behavior, and health information to state and local public health authorities and CDC programs. DBS plans, coordinates, and implements activities related to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). DBS also conducts other specialized surveys to support CDC programs and obtain data on important emerging health issues such as influenza and mental health.
  • The Division of Informatics Practice, Policy, and Coordination (DIPPC) s mission is to improve the practice and translation of public health informatics through outreach and coordination. DIPPC works to foster the adoption of informatics standards by CDC programs; provide informatics expertise and consultation services to CDC and partners; ensure that informatics activities at CDC and with partners align with emerging HIT polices; and seek opportunities to enhance the delivery of public health services through public health informatics.
  • The Division of Informatics Solutions and Operations (DISO) provides a portfolio of informatics and IT solutions of choice that supports public health information exchange in areas such as surveillance, emergency preparedness, and laboratory services. DISO translates public health needs into information processes that are valued, cost effective, strategic, and congruent with the larger HIT world. DISO manages shared services and applications to reduce the total cost of operation and improve return on investment.
  • The Division of Notifiable Diseases and Healthcare Information (DNDHI) leads the integration of CDC s statistical, epidemiologic, and informatics methods for public health surveillance and evaluation. DNDHI works with federal, state, and local public health partners to support the collection, sharing, and analysis of healthcare and public health information. Its flagship systems are BioSense, a collaborative syndromic surveillance system, and the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, which focuses on aggregated individual case reports of nationally notifiable infectious diseases.
  • The Biosurveillance Coordination Activity (BCA) leads efforts, under delegated authorities of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21: Public Health and Medical Preparedness, to establish an operational national epidemiologic surveillance system for human health. BCA creates strategies, initiatives, and actions to improve U.S. response to today s health threats and hazards, including emerging disease outbreaks, environmental exposures, and disasters. BCA helps address these threats by coordinating biosurveillance efforts across multiple entities in the international, federal, state, local, and private sectors.
  • The Informatics Research and Development Activity (IRDA) advances the field of public health informatics through applied research and innovation. IRDA studies, prototypes, and tests new and innovative technology-based tools and resources to maximize their effect on public health. Its Public Health Informatics Research and Development Laboratory s services include the Applied Public Health Informatics Research Cloud, prototyping, consultation, and evaluation. IRDA s resources are available to both CDC and its partners in the public health community.

* Note: Until further notice, the acronym, PHSIPO, is understood to mean Public Health Surveillance and Informatics Program Office (proposed).

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