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July 22, 2013

NYC Macroscope: Using EHRs to Monitor Population Health

In an effort to determine how public health can use EHRs to analyze population health trends, New York City is developing the NYC Macroscope, a population health surveillance system that uses EHRs to track chronic conditions managed by primary care practices. The NYC Macroscope guide, Developing an Electronic Health Record-Based Population Health Surveillance System, outlines the methods that will be used to gather and analyze EHR data on priority health indicators such as chronic disease risk factors, prevalence, treatment, and control.

This project comes at a critical time as our healthcare system moves towards full EHR adoption, and the partnership between public health and healthcare continues to grow. Public health practitioners need to be able to point to specific data that accurately reflects population health trends in order to influence health policy changes and implement disease prevention strategies within communities. Traditionally, public health relies heavily on expensive and time-intensive surveys to gather meaningful population health data, but with the current rate of EHR implementation, public health has timely access to a wealth of population health data. The NYC Macroscope project seeks to validate that EHRs can provide public health practitioners with timely, meaningful data, leading to more timely interventions and policy action. 

David A. Ross, ScD

President/CEO of the Task Force for Global Health, former director of PHII