Public Health Informatics Program Transcript
Public Health Informatics Program TranscriptRONNA GOTTHAINER: The health department uses a lot of different information technology. And among the things we use is geographic information systems. We use that to plot where our health issues are within the county, so that if we do a health survey and we can take the data by zip code, determine where the hotspots are for health issues, and aIDress those health issues in the right places in the community.
MAURA ROSSMAN: Twenty years ago, the public health model was, we know that cardiovascular disease is a problem, so we are going to educate everyone about salt intake. Well, maybe I dont need to be educated on salt intake, but theres 10 people that really need intensive education and were learning that thats much more cost effective than sort of educating the 300,000 who it may not be relevant to.
RONNA GOTTHAINER: We also use other information technology. For example, document management, which ties everything together in one place so that you can access all your information, not in paper with lots of file cabinets, but electronically. And electronic health records is another place where we use information technology. Our health department is going to have all our clinical services on one electronic health record system. So everything from the intake forms to the billing and all the medical charts will happen within the electronic health record.
MAURA ROSSMAN: Were currently undergoing our second Howard County health assessment survey.
NARRATOR: Is your organization focused on improving the health of Howard County residents? Then there is a great free resource for you, the results of the Howard County Health Assessment Survey can help you direct your resources to be as effective as possible. Using health data, you can decide what is needed, and which members of the community to assist.
MAURA ROSSMAN: And from that statistical analysis, we created maps, and were able to tell in which geographic zip codes, for instance, folks were having difficulty with accessing a primary care provider. Zip codes where there were higher smoking rates than other zip codes. Zip codes where folks were feeling more stressed than other zip codes, and then developing an intervention.
RONNA GOTTHAINER: We have used health informatics to look at health disparities in the community. Thats by looking by zip code at where the people are less healthy, and what types of people use the demographic information, to
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Public Health Informatics
determine what types of people are having the most health issues. So whether thats by age, by race, by gender, we can figure that out through the demographic information that we collect when we survey. We try to do health impact assessments. It takes a long time to determine what the actual impact of your programs have on the community. So its hard to start considering what to evaluate when you start a program and then be able to see it change over time. i
MAURA ROSSMAN: What were required to do or we should be required to do, is have health outcome or evaluation of what we do. To be able to say, did we have an impact? Did it make a difference on the community? Otherwise, weve spent money, weve spent time, weve spe