Health Information plays a pivotal role in informing and supporting many local health department (LHD) functions and services. The purpose of the case study was to explore how a medium-sized LHD using best practices in informatics could implement and use informatics to improve the practice of public health.
[Photo: Dr. Gulzar Shah]
The 2015 Informatics capacity and Needs Assessment study was conducted as the principal investigator by Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean for research at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, on behalf of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). This study describes the informatics activities performed by and for local health departments. Along with the quantitative survey of a representative sample of LHDs across the country, three qualitative case studies of LHDs were conducted to better understand how LHDs implemented/used these systems. The case studies aimed to explore factors, not currently available in quantitative data that may be associated with LHD adoption and use of informatics.
The case study shows examples of innovation in informatics capacity building and use by a medium-sized LHD. The description of factors associated with challenges and successes may provide general guidance for other LHDs with similar population health issues (eg, OTP) that currently lack information systems to provide program and services coordination. Our study may also provide direction regarding the payoffs of strong relationships and collaboration among IS and other program areas.
“Informatics as a Strategic Priority and Collaborative Processes to Build a Smarter, Forward-Looking Health Department,” was published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
Dr. Kay Lovelace, associate professor at UNC Greensboro, was the lead author for this case study. Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean of research at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Georgia Southern University was the co-author.