Online Program

County health department employee's public health informatics competencies: Taney, Missouri

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sanjay Sagar, PhD Student, MPH, Department of Health and Recreation Professions, The University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Jiunn-Jye Sheu, PhD, MSPH, MCHES, Department of Health and Recreation Professions, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Dalen Duitsman, HSD MS, College of Health and Human Services, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO
Introduction: Public health informatics (PHI) has a crucial role on effective implementation of public health programs. However, very few studies reported PHI competencies among public health professionals at the local level. The purpose of this study was to assess PHI competencies among the staff of the Taney County Health Department in Missouri.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was first of the kind done at a county health department. The researchers developed two questionnaires to survey employees with or without management responsibilities. The non-manager survey asked about the software they used for public health programs while the manager survey focused on their PHI competencies. Both surveys were completed electronically and the participants were asked to complete the surveys within 2 weeks.

Results: The results showed that most employees work for either clinical division (26%), environmental division (16.7%) or WIC division (13.3%). Approximately 40% employees had a bachelor degree as the highest degree attained. The results indicated that very few staff (10%) heard about statistical software like SPSS, Epinfo and GIS software. The manager survey showed almost all managers (95%) were knowledgeable or very knowledgeable on the PHI competencies under Policy Development/Program Planning Skills, Cultural Competency Skills, Community Dimensions of Practice Skills, Public Health Sciences Skills, Financial Planning and Management Skills, and Leadership and System Thinking Skills. In addition, 85% and 75% of the managers were knowledgeable or very knowledgeable on Analytical Assessment Skills and Communication Skills competencies respectively.

Implications: This study showed that the majority of managers were either knowledgeable or very knowledgeable about PHI competencies but non-management staff was not familiar with available software for public health practice. Future research is suggested to explore manager's roles and strategies in identifying the useful software and training needs of non-management staff and the productivity change after training.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe public health informatics competencies among employees at a county health department Discuss various public health software used by non-managerial staff at a county health department

Keyword(s): Health Information, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been in public health field since 2005 and have adequate knowledge on public health informatics.I have experienced on presenting poster and paper at state level conference and won second prize for poster presentation in 2010.
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.

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