The efficiencies of EHRs and predictive modeling can only be limited to a data management system. This is where public health EMR comes in.

An algorithm uses physician diagnostic coding, laboratory test orders and results, and prescription information to identify notifiable disease reports. It collects pieces on TB, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Lyme disease.

Improved Interoperability

In the modern world, interoperability should be at the forefront of all industries, including healthcare. Computerized systems can connect and communicate with one another seamlessly, regardless of their original design and origins. It is a complex process that includes technical and organizational aspects, such as governance, policy, legal, and social considerations.

This involves establishing standardized communication channels, protocols, and formats to allow different systems to transmit data. It also includes ensuring that shared information can be understood once it reaches its destination, referred to as syntactic and semantic interoperability.

A seamless data transfer is critical for patients, especially during care transitions, such as when they are admitted to a different hospital or transferred to a new primary care provider (PCP). For example, PCPs need to know what tests and medications a patient has had previously to ensure the appropriate treatments are given. Hospital interoperability can also reduce costs by eliminating redundant tests and facilitating faster specialist referrals.

Improved Security

Healthcare data is precious to cyber attackers who can profit from selling it on the dark web or black market. But it is also beneficial to the public health sector when used appropriately.

The best EMR software is HIPAA compliant and uses encryption technology to protect sensitive information from unauthorized users. It can also connect to public health records like communicable disease registries. This allows physicians to check for drug-drug interactions and other medical history that may indicate a possible infectious disease or other condition.

Modern standards can provide a common set of tools for harvesting USCDI data from EHR systems in standard and scalable ways. This offers the opportunity to address longstanding public health data challenges without requiring individual public health agencies to operate and maintain their infrastructure or develop one-off protocols for querying EHRs. It can use algorithms that combine physician diagnostic coding, laboratory test orders and results, and prescriptions to identify conditions of public health interest, such as active TB, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Lyme disease.

Improved Data Analytics

Many healthcare organizations have enormous data, but much is not applicable. Data analytics can turn raw numbers into valuable information, allowing organizations to understand trends better and make more informed decisions.

Some use algorithms that utilize physician diagnostic coding, laboratory test orders and results, vital signs, and prescriptions to identify conditions of public health interest. The system can then automatically submit case reports for notifiable diseases such as tuberculosis and chlamydia or syndromic surveillance report data to health departments.

As the standards developed through the ONC community process become more widely adopted, they could enable public health to harvest USCDI data elements from EHRs nationwide without operating and maintaining a separate infrastructure. As a result, It could be replaced by a distributed network of local data collection sites that would provide more comprehensive coverage and reduce the burden on individual healthcare facilities. This could be particularly helpful for small and medium-sized practices.

Improved Patient Care

EMRs are being used for patient care in a variety of ways. These include remote access to patients’ charts, improved laboratory results availability, medication error alerts, and reminders for preventive visits.

Several studies demonstrate improved patient outcomes and cost reductions with EMR use. Hospitals with advanced EMR systems have reduced deaths and readmissions, lower 30–day mortality, and shorter lengths of stay.

Public health is leveraging existing EMRs for disease surveillance by collecting, aggregating, and reporting data, an electronic surveillance system for infectious diseases (TB, chlamydia, gonorrhea, pertussis, syphilis, HIV, HCV, and Hepatitis A, B, C). Its detection algorithms utilize physician diagnostic coding, laboratory test orders, results, vital signs, and prescriptions to identify notifiable conditions such as active TB, chronic diseases (e.g., diabetes and hyperlipidemia), and vaccine adverse events. These algorithms are updated frequently to take advantage of new tests, coding changes, and treatment options. This is a community effort, and it requires significant time and resources to maintain a standard that meets public health needs.

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