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New ASPE Report on IT Infrastructure in State and Local Health Departments

I would like to bring to your attention a new ASPE report, Assessing the Status and Prospects of State and Local Health Department Information Technology Infrastructure, produced by NORC at the University of Chicago.

This report looks closely at how state and local health departments use information technology systems to capture, manage, analyze and report data, focusing on recent IT trends with the advent of the HITECH Act of 2009, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and recent work in public health informatics.

There are a number of barriers and challenges public health departments face when it comes to collecting data, including the ever changing role of public health, lack of informatics and IT system training, and of course, funding constraints. But as the report points out, an integrative and collaborative data-sharing approach between public health practitioners and healthcare providers in the future will lead to a better understanding for assessing and improving population health. Public health informatics will play a key role in defining technical issues and providing solutions that will make sharing and using information feasible.