Electronic health record case studies to advance environmental public health tracking
Abstract Data from traditional public health surveillance systems can have some limitations, e.g., timeliness, geographic level, and amount of data accessible. Electronic health records (EHRs) could present an opportunity to supplement current sources of routinely collected surveillance data. The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (Tracking Program) sought to explore the use of EHRs for advancing environmental public health surveillance practices. The Tracking Program funded four state/local health departments to obtain and pilot the use of EHR data to address several issues including the challenges and technical requirements for accessing EHR data, and the core data elements required to integrate EHR data within their departments’ Tracking Programs. The results of these pilot projects highlighted the potential of EHR data for public health surveillance of rare diseases that may lack comprehensive registries, and surveillance of prevalent health conditions or risk factors for health outcomes at a finer geographic level. EHRs therefore, may have potential to supplement traditional sources of public health surveillance data. Highlights Electronic health records (EHR) have potential to provide more data to public health. Four state/local Tracking Programs were funded to pilot the use of EHR data. EHRs were useful for surveillance of prevalent or rare diseases, and risk factors. EHRs were useful for public health surveillance at finer geographic levels. Graphical abstract [DISPLAY OMISSION]
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