Public health agencies at state and local levels are integrating information systems to improve health outcomes for children. An assessment was conducted to describe the extent to which public health agencies are currently integrating child health information systems (CHIS). Using online technology information was collected, to assess completed and planned activities related to integration of CHIS, maturity of these systems, and factors that influence decisions by public health agencies to pursue integration activities. Of the 39 public health agencies that participated, 18 (46%) reported already integrating some or all of their CHIS, and 13 (33%) reported to be planning to integrate during the next 3 years. Information systems most commonly integrated include Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI), immunization, vital records, and Newborn Dried Bloodspot Screening (NDBS). Given the high priority that has been placed on using technology to improve health status in the United States, the emphasis on expanding the capability for the electronic exchange of health information, and federal support for electronic health records by 2014, public health agencies should be encouraged and supported in their efforts to develop, implement, and maintain integrated CHIS to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information with the clinical healthcare sector.
This study encourages public health agencies to develop, implement, and maintain integrated child health information system to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information with the clinical healthcare sector.
Debra Bara, MA, is Associate Director, Programs, Public Health Informatics Institute, Taskforce for Global Health, Decatur, Georgia.
Carol McPhillips-Tangum, MPH, is Principal, Experion Healthcare Group, LLC, Decatur, Georgia.
Ellen L. Wild, MPH, is Deputy Director for Program Development, Public Health, Informatics Institute, Taskforce for Global Health, Decatur, Georgia.
Marie Y. Mann, MD, MPH, is Deputy Chief, Genetic Services Branch, Division of Services for Children with Special Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, Maryland.
Corresponding Author: Debra Bara, MA, Communities of Practice, Public Health Informatics Institute, Taskforce for Global Health, 325 Swanton Way, Decatur, GA 30030 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors thank the Genetic Services Branch, Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration for the funds and support that made this survey possible (HRSA contract number U37MCO205); the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) and the individuals at the public health agencies who participated in the assessment; and Alan R. Hinman, MD, MPH, for his insightful review of the article.