Application: 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
health­related 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.
Prepare for this Application as follows:

Conduct a literature review of a specific application of health information
technology in public health and locate an example in which the application was
used to address a public health-related concern. (You might wish to begin by
researching a particular surveillance program, disease outbreak, disease registry,
prevention program, or other public health-related event, and then identify the
technology involved in this activity.)

Find out how this application has impacted the public’s health. Learn also
about any ways in which health care providers and organizations were involved in
the use of this information technology.
Then write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:

Describe the specific application you selected and the ways in which it
addresses a public health-related concern. Summarize the potential benefits to
the public, as well as any possible drawbacks, arising from the use of this
application.

Explain the role of hospitals and other health care organizations in
contributing to or making use of this public health-related IT application.

Discuss other implications of this application for health care providers and
organizations. How has it impacted (or might it impact) clinical or administrative
practices in hospitals or other health care institutions? Provide a rationale for your
response.