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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality
Improvement

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What is the business case for these objectives/measures of this priority?

Governmental public health agencies currently utilize a variety of data systems to integrate the data that is collected from healthcare providers, registries, laboratories and other entities.  The adoption of these data systems, and health IT as a whole, has been largely program and agency-specific to date.  To be effective, public health entities need real-time, meaningful data that existing systems cannot easily receive, generate, or exchange. Data sent on paper is a slower, more costly, and more labor-intensive than data submitted electronically. More personnel are needed to review and enter the data.  There may be delays in reporting diseases when manual calculations are necessary.  

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and the EHR Incentive Program Final Rule have created a unique opportunity to enhance data collection mechanisms to governmental public health agencies by providing incentive payments to providers who purchase, adopt, implement, or upgrade electronic technologies and utilize them to report population data. Providing standards for system interoperability, such as HL7, and incentives to obtain certified EHRs, can enable real-time exchanges of health information between public health agencies and clinical practices, as well as integrate public health knowledge into the clinical care process.

To date, the lack of timely, accurate data reporting from clinical care to public health has jeopardized the efficiency and effectiveness of public health agencies in a number of ways.  Meeting the objectives created under this priority will allow public health and providers to provide meaningful information to decision-makers, support public health programs that monitor a population’s overall health, coordinate and deliver better quality and cost effective healthcare, improve health education and prevention services, administer Medicaid/Medicare programs and professional licensure programs, and disseminate information to the public.   

Related Resources:

BUSINESS CASE: The Role of Public Health in National Health Information Technology Standardization go to exit disclaimer– A document published by Public Health Data Standards Consortium (PHDSC) that demonstrates the business case for standardization of public health data sets.
Business Case for Public Health Participation in Health Information Technology (HIT) Standardization go to exit disclaimer– A PowerPoint presentation from PHDSC that summarizes the business case for health IT standardization.
PHDSC Webinars on Business Case go to exit disclaimer– This webpage gives access to a series of webinars, put on by PHDSC, on the business case for health IT standardization.
Proposed Health People 2020 Objectives-Public Health Infrastructure go to exit disclaimer– The Healthy People 2020 objectives related public health infrastructure.  Many of these objectives outline the business implications for this Meaningful Use priority.

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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