Common Ground: Transforming Public Health Information Systems
The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHSA) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) are proud recipients of the Common Ground Requirements Development Grant with a focus on chronic disease health informatics.
Recent developments in health information technology have created tremendous opportunities for public health agencies. Common Ground: Transforming Public Health Information Systems, a three-year, $15 million national initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), will build on these developments to help public health agencies improve their business processes and enhance the way they communicate and work with the health care system.
Common Ground seeks to:
- Persuade public health agencies to integrate informatics principles and sound development methodologies to improve the delivery of public health services.
- Examine existing public health service business processes—and define requirements for the information systems used to support these processes.
- Help agencies develop new information system requirements that are more effective and that streamline the delivery of essential public health services.
- Minimize duplicative efforts by identifying common business processes and information system requirements that are applicable across the public health field.
- Encourage stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels to endorse, adopt, and implement redesigned business processes and information system requirements that support public health preparedness and chronic disease prevention and control.
Common Ground Activities at the California Department of Public Health
In October 2008, the national collaborative completed Business Process Analysis templates (PDF)for a subset of business processes that had been identified for chronic disease prevention and control. These templates map out common business processes among both State and Local Public Health Departments. It is hoped that use of these templates will better define work flows within CDPH, resulting in more efficient use of health informatics and information technology. The templates are available for any Public Health Department to document common business processes such as data collection, epidemiological research, and delivering services to the public.
In April 2008, two facilitated sessions were held to discuss common activities within the CHHSA around web-based data query systems and data linkages. Representatives from CDPH, Department of Health Care Services, and Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development were in attendance. In each session, programs shared activities on these topics and identified commonalities. A report (PDF)subsequently summarized Web-based query and data linking activities within CHHSA discussed in this meeting.