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April 25, 2017

Podcast: NYC Macroscope, EHRs and population health surveillance

The NYC Macroscope team

Over a year ago, Dr. David Ross mentioned the NYC Macroscope project to Piper and me, and I’ve wanted to record a podcast episode about it ever since. I think NYC Macroscope caught my attention because it leverages data that already exist in electronic health records (EHRs) for population health surveillance. For many chronic conditions, survey data currently serve as the “gold standard” for public health surveillance. Surveys can be incredibly resource intensive, do not always provide representation across subgroups in a population, and there are sometimes long lag times between when data are collected and when the results are published. The idea of EHR data supplementing these surveys intrigued me.

At the same time, I had a lot of questions. How would health care share data with public health? How reliable are the data? How generalizable are they to the population as a whole?

I’m very grateful Sharon Perlman, the Director of Special Projects in the Division of Epidemiology at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, agreed to be a podcast guest. In this episode, Sharon discusses how the NYC Macroscope got its start, the strengths and limitations of EHR-based population health surveillance, and some of the future directions for this work in New York City.

If you’re interested in learning more about NYC Macroscope, check out the series of papers Sharon and her team published in the December 2016 issue of eGEMS.

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