Interoperability between Birth Defects Surveillance (BDS) programs and electronic health records systems (EHRs) refers to the ability of different information systems, devices or applications to communicate within and across organizational boundaries; to exchange information accurately, effectively and consistently; and to use the information that has been exchanged to enhance individual and population health.

The readiness assessment is designed to help birth defects programs gain an understanding of their current system and business processes, agency policies, available resources, existing partnerships, and IT considerations to determine readiness for automated electronic data exchange using health information standards.


The self-assessment will address:

  • Current system and business processes: The system and processes that the birth defects program uses to achieve its outcomes.
  • Leadership and resources: The birth defects program’s health information strategy and access to human and financial support for information exchange.
  • IT infrastructure: Information technology resources the agency provides to the birth defects program supporting data use and exchange.

In addition to this readiness assessment, PHII has also developed related resources for capacity building and workforce development:

  • The Informatics-Savvy Health Department:
    An assessment that enables planning and priority setting to identify where your agency falls on a continuum of becoming informatics-savvy by measuring three core elements: informatics vision and strategy, a skilled workforce, and well-designed and effectively-used information systems.
  • Toolkit for Planning an EHR-based Surveillance System:
    An organized set of field-tested tools designed to support planning for a public health surveillance program that will rely on data from EHR systems.
  • Informatics Academy:
    A workforce development program offering a range of e-courses that build informatics capacity across foundational areas in U.S. public health departments and global public health practice.
PHII (September 30, 2023) Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment. Retrieved from
"Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment." PHII - September 30, 2023,
PHII August 23, 2021 Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment., viewed September 30, 2023,<>
PHII - Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment. [Internet]. [Accessed September 30, 2023]. Available from:
"Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment." PHII - Accessed September 30, 2023.
"Birth Defects Surveillance Readiness Assessment." PHII [Online]. Available: [Accessed: September 30, 2023]

Resource Files

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