PUB-430: Public Health Data Systems and Informatics.

 

Students that undertake the pub-430: public health data systems and informatics course explore diverse data systems, such as disease registries, surveillance data, and geographic information systems, to learn about health and disease. Students learn to use technology to manage and share data appropriate for the targeted audience and apply tools of health informatics to interpret and communicate data for decision making and program or policy development.

What is public health informatics?

Public health informatics is the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and learning. Therefore, like other types of informatics, public health informatics involves the study of informatics, computer science, psychology, law, statistics, epidemiology, and microbiology.

 public health data systems and informatics

Purpose of public health informatics.

Public health informatics has many purposes. These purposes include the following:

  • It focuses on the applications of information science and technology that promote the health of populations as opposed to the health of specific individuals.
  • It also concentrates on the applications of information science and technology that prevent disease and injury by altering the conditions or the environment that put populations of individuals at risk.
  • Public health informatics aims to explore the potential for prevention at all vulnerable points in the causal chains leading to disease, injury, or disability; applications should not be restricted to particular social, behavioral, or environmental contexts.
  • It also reflects the governmental context in which public health is practiced.

Applications of public health informatics.

The following are some of the applications of public health informatics:

  • Collecting and storing vital statistics such as birth and death records.
  • Collecting reported communicable disease cases from doctors, hospitals, and laboratories for infectious disease surveillance.
  • Sharing infectious disease statistics and trends with other entities, including the public.
  • Collecting child immunization and lead screening information.
  • Analyzing and collecting emergency room data to detect early evidence of biological threats.
  • Collecting hospital capacity information to allow for planning of responses in case of emergencies.

What is public health surveillance?

Public health surveillance is the ongoing collection, analysis, and dissemination of health-related data to provide information that can be used to monitor and improve the health of populations.

Purpose of public health surveillance.

Public health surveillance provides and interprets data to facilitate the prevention and control of the disease.

Characteristics of public health surveillance.

Timeliness.

This enables the implementation of effective control measures.

Representation.

Provides an accurate picture of the temporal trend of the illness.

Sensitivity.

Enables identification of individual persons with the illness to facilitate treatment, quarantine, or other appropriate control measures of the disease.

Specificity.

Enables exclusion of individuals not having the disease.

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