Information Technology in Public Health


Public health surveillance and prevention efforts in the U.S. reflect the involvement of numerous health care providers and organizations. Government agencies such as the CDC often function as a hub for the collection, coordination, and communication of public health-related data. Common applications of public health IT to promote and improve the health of populations include (but are not limited to) biosurveillance, disease registries, and immunization tracking. The timely and appropriate implementation of these applications can have a significant impact on the ability of providers to deliver health care to the their patients, which, in turn, can have a profound effect on a community’s overall state of health and wellness. Consider the dire impact a SARS outbreak might have, for example, if patient diagnoses were not reported and shared regionally, nationally, and internationally.

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