So how does your health department become “informatics-savvy?” There are three core elements to focus on: having an informatics vision and strategy, supporting a skilled workforce and having well-designed and effectively used information systems. To assist in growing these capabilities, MDH and PHII have developed and piloted Building an Informatics-Savvy Health Department: A Self-Assessment Tool. The tool is designed to support capacity-building efforts within local or state health departments by both defining necessary informatics capabilities and by identifying activities to aid priority setting and planning.
The self-assessment tool asks a series of questions to identify where your agency falls on a continuum based on the three core elements mentioned above, identifying key strengths and weaknesses. Such a self-assessment encourages organizations to focus on and achieve an end goal, and developing a skilled workforce is critical to meet those goals. The value of the self-assessment is that it enables substantive discussions to reach consensus on where you are on the road to becoming informatics-savvy.
Becoming informatics-savvy isn’t just about technology—it’s about turning data into actionable information and knowledge for decision making and problem solving, ultimately leading to a robust public health system and healthy community.
Download the informatics-savvy self-assessment and facilitator guide here. Contact Debra Bara with any feedback and questions at Dbara@phii.org.