Online Program

From data to population health policy: Student evaluation of a PopHR using the Omaha System

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Karen A. Monsen, PhD, FAAN, RN, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Nicole Sowers, BS, MBA, Champ Software, North Mankato, MN
Cathy Gagne, RN BSN PHN LHIT, St. Paul Ramsey County Public Health, White Bear Lake, MN, MN
Karen S. Martin, RN, MSN, FAAN, Martin Associates, Omaha, NE

To support health policy improvements, methods are needed to measure and monitor population health. No single sector alone can improve the health of a population. Public health, social services, school systems, clinical settings, and businesses must cooperate to measure and share data regarding the health of individuals, communities, and systems. Such an interoperable data system has been conceptualized as a population health record (PopHR): a system of assimilating information and statistics from diverse data sets and sources to provide a comprehensive view of population health for research, evaluation, and decision making.


PHN graduate students explored the value of the PopHR concept using an academic electronic health record based on an ontological framework and interface terminology that enabled data interoperability (the Omaha System). Students mapped data from the selected individual, community, and system variables to the three components of the Omaha System, then aggregated and exported their combined data and conducted an analysis of the resulting population health dataset.

Lessons Learned

Problems such as Mental health, Pain, and Abuse were common across populations, raising important clinical and social issues that are applicable across settings. Students reported gaining competence in interoperability and analysis of population data from various sources using a clinical standard, and insight into potential solutions for development of a PopHR.


PHN student use of a prototype PopHR demonstrated learning about population health measurement across settings and populations. Further research is needed to evaluate such a PopHR for communication, timeliness, and use of actual population health information.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe a Population Health Record (PopHR) concept for educational purposes. Describe use of the Omaha System by students for analyzing population health data.

Keyword(s): Nursing Education, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Omaha System expert with a focus on practice, documentation, and information management. I work with practitioners, educators, researchers, and software developers.
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.