Some public health departments have been exploring different approaches to this kind of data collection, so we examined their techniques to inform new HIT standards for communicating obesity data to public health. The team presented these standards at the 2014 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in the Interoperability Showcase. This demonstration allowed us to introduce these concepts to a wider audience of health IT professionals using scenarios modeled on real life. In one scenario, a doctor helps a woman manage her weight in relation to her pregnancy; in another, a pediatrician monitored the weight of a young patient.
We recently released a report describing the Healthy Weight Surveillance Initiative and hope it serves as a useful starting point for agencies considering obesity surveillance using EHRs. This report should help agencies think through the technical and social issues that emerge during the planning, design, and implementation phases of an EHR-based obesity surveillance project. These activities provide opportunities for public health to partner with the health care sector and describe the value public health can bring in advancing the triple aims of better care, lower costs and improved health.