Creating Value: Unifying Silos into Public Health Business Intelligence


Introduction: Through September 2014, federal investments in health information technology have been unprecedented, with more than 25 billion dollars in incentive funds distributed to eligible hospitals and providers. Over 85 percent of eligible United States hospitals and 60 percent of eligible providers have used certified electronic health record (EHR) technology and received Meaningful Use incentive funds (HITECH Act1).

Technology: Certified EHR technology could create new public health (PH) value through novel and rapidly evolving data-use opportunities, never before experienced by PH. The long-standing “silo” approach to funding has fragmented PH programs and departments,2 but the components for integrated business intelligence (i.e., tools and applications to help users make informed decisions) and maximally reuse data are available now.

Systems: Challenges faced by PH agencies on the road to integration are plentiful, but an emphasis on PH systems and services research (PHSSR) may identify gaps and solutions for the PH community to address.

Conclusion: Technology and system approaches to leverage this information explosion to support a transformed health care system and population health are proposed. By optimizing this information opportunity, PH can play a greater role in the learning health system.