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Application Information Technology in Public Health
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Application: Information Technology in Public Health

Public health surveillance and prevention efforts in the U.S. reflect the involvement of numerous health care providers and organizations. Government agencies such as the CDC often function as a hub for the collection, coordination, and communication of public health-related data. Common applications of public health IT to promote and improve the health of populations include (but are not limited to) biosurveillance, disease registries, and immunization tracking. The timely and appropriate implementation of these applications can have a significant impact on the ability of providers to deliver health care to the their patients, which, in turn, can have a profound effect on a community's overall state of health and wellness. Consider the dire impact a SARS outbreak might have, for example, if patient diagnoses were not reported and shared regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Prepare for this Application as follows:

  • Conduct a literature review of a specific application of health information technology in public health and locate an example in which the application was used to address a public health-related concern. (You might wish to begin by researching a particular surveillance program, disease outbreak, disease registry, prevention program, or other public health-related event, and then identify the technology involved in this activity.)
  • Find out how this application has impacted the public's health. Learn also about any ways in which health care providers and organizations were involved in the use of this information technology.

Then write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:

  • Describe the specific application you selected and the ways in which it addresses a public health-related concern. Summarize the potential benefits to the public, as well as any possible drawbacks, arising from the use of this application.
  • Explain the role of hospitals and other health care organizations in contributing to or making use of this public health-related IT application.
  • Discuss other implications of this application for health care providers and organizations. How has it impacted (or might it impact) clinical or administrative practices in hospitals or other health care institutions? Provide a rationale for your response.
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