Pew: 4 ways updating health data exchange methods would improve public health

Hannah Mitchell -

Real-time and complete data through EHRs could give public health agencies what they need to improve public health analytics. There are four ways eliminating data gaps and improving data-sharing can strengthen the public response to the pandemic, according to a March 1 Pew article.

Four takeaways:

1. Case reporting
By allowing EHRs to transmit health information to public health facilities, agencies can create strategies to curb the spread and impact of infectious diseases.

2. Lab reporting
Laboratories send test results to the appropriate public health agencies, but missing data like a patient's phone number can limit contact tracing abilities.

3. Syndromic surveillance
Some emergency departments and urgent care facilities report key symptoms to public health agencies to recognize spikes in specific illnesses. However, not enough emergency rooms — or primary care providers — are sending this information in to agencies.

4. Immunization information systems
These systems are managed by states and local jurisdictions to monitor immunization rates. Requirements for using these systems vary. Federal guidelines can close these gaps to track vaccine distribution and vaccination rates.

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Indiana University develops tool that visualizes relationship between misinformation and COVID-19 vaccine acceptance

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