The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) defines public health informatics as the “application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and learning.” A primary focus of public health informatics is on the promotion of the health of the general population through the surveillance and prevention of disease and injury. In the United States, these surveillance and prevention efforts reflect the involvement of numerous individuals and organizations—including a broad spectrum of health care providers—with government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) often functioning as a hub for the collection, coordination, and communication of public health-related data. Common applications of public health informatics to promote and improve the health of the general population 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 general population, which, in turn, can have a profound effect on the general population’s overall state of health and wellness.
To prepare for this Discussion, conduct a literature review of a specific application of health informatics in public health and identify a recent example in which that technology was implemented to address a public health-related concern.
• Describe the specific application that you selected and explain the way in which that technology was implemented to address a public health-related concern.
• How did the application of health informatics to this public health-related concern affect health care providers? How did it subsequently affect the general population? Be sure to consider the potential benefits as well as any possible drawbacks or limitations of implementing this particular application of health informatics in public health.