The systems that support public health efforts in California were developed in response to specific high- priority data needs for individual public health programs. The development and evolution of these program-specific information systems resulted in silos of information, duplications in effort, and critical information gaps, making it difficult to link and exchange data.
Today, integrated information systems, and coordinated approaches are needed to fulfill the data and information needs of California’s public health system. Access to timely, high-quality information on disease occurrences, abnormal patterns of disease, co-morbidity trends, and other public health events would improve the Department’s ability to administer and manage public health for Californians.
At the national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has undertaken initiatives to integrate diverse public health systems, connect information systems, and use and promote national data and systems standards. Through the Public Health Information Network (PHIN), National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) and other initiatives, the CDC describes specific standards to implement a coordinated public health system.
To ensure that California is part of this process, the CalPHIN initiative was created. CalPHIN will integrate relevant health and disease information from the many members of the State public health system and promote the efficient exchange of this information with CDC, other states, and partners in the public health community.