268138 Assessment of a large local health department's need for electronic medical record data

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 4:30 PM - 4:50 PM

Adam Readhead, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Heather Readhead, MD MPH , Office of Medical Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Alan Tomines, MD , Public Health Informatics, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Commerce, CA
Robert Kim-Farley, MD, MPH , Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Public health departments anticipate increased access to data from electronic medical records (EMR) via “meaningful use” reporting requirements and health information exchange stimulated by the HITECH Act. Objectives: Educate public health programs about health informatics. Assess the importance of EMR data to different programs, identify a consensus set of data elements, and assess the capacity of programs to manage and analyze this new data. Methods: Structured interviews with quantitative and qualitative components were conducted with directors, epidemiologists and lead staff from 16 programs within the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health between September and November 2011. Participants selected from a list of 45 common EMR data elements and reported how these data would support existing or new program functions. Personnel and IT capacity, legal concerns, quality concerns and the relative importance of EMR data in comparison to other data needs were measured. Results: There were 10 EMR data elements that >90% of programs requested. The majority of programs indicated that EMR data could improve existing program activities and provide new opportunities. Of reporting programs, 53% were concerned or very concerned about the number of personnel available to analyze new data, 47% expressed no concern about their IT capacity, and 54% stated that this data was important or very important. Clinically oriented programs rated EMR data as more important and requested >80% of data elements. Legal and quality concerns varied across programs. Conclusions: While public health programs regard EMR data as important, improved knowledge is required to effectively advocate for data needs. Consensus for a limited data set exists that could be used to pilot data exchange. Human resource capacity was cited as a limitation to data use. EMR data may improve program functions and outcome evaluations, particularly for populations where traditional data is lacking.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1) By the end of the session, the participant will be able to list EMR data elements desired by a large local health department. 2) By the end of the session, the participant will be able to compare uses for EMR data by different public health programs. 3) By the end of the session, the participant will be able to identify challenges for utilization of EMR data by public health department.

Keywords: Data/Surveillance, Public Health Informatics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in applied epidemiology for the past 10 years in multiple capacities - government public health surveillance, non-governmental organization monitoring and evaluation, and clinical trials. My work includes development of an HIV drug-resistance surveillance system with the health departments of New York City and New York State.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.