public health informatics


Summary: The systematic application of information and computer sciences to public health practice, research, and learning.

Top Publications

  1. Brownstein J, Freifeld C, Reis B, Mandl K. Surveillance Sans Frontières: Internet-based emerging infectious disease intelligence and the HealthMap project. PLoS Med. 2008;5:e151 pubmed publisher
  2. Reis B, Kohane I, Mandl K. An epidemiological network model for disease outbreak detection. PLoS Med. 2007;4:e210 pubmed
  3. Yan W, Nie S, Xu B, Dong H, Palm L, Diwan V. Establishing a web-based integrated surveillance system for early detection of infectious disease epidemic in rural China: a field experimental study. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2012;12:4 pubmed publisher
    ..It will be especially effective for surveillance in resource poor settings...
  4. Wallstrom G, Wagner M, Hogan W. High-fidelity injection detectability experiments: a tool for evaluating syndromic surveillance systems. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:85-91 pubmed
    ..HiFIDE enables public health departments to perform system validations recommended by CDC. HiFIDE can be obtained for no charge for noncommercial use ( ..
  5. Sokolow L, Grady N, Rolka H, Walker D, McMurray P, English Bullard R, et al. Deciphering data anomalies in BioSense. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:133-9 pubmed
    ..This process can be made more effective by continued improvements to the user interface and collective input from local public health partners. ..
  6. Stansfield S. Structuring information and incentives to improve health. Bull World Health Organ. 2005;83:562 pubmed
  7. Williams T. Building health information systems in the context of national strategies for the development of statistics. Bull World Health Organ. 2005;83:564 pubmed
  8. Mykhalovskiy E, Weir L. The Global Public Health Intelligence Network and early warning outbreak detection: a Canadian contribution to global public health. Can J Public Health. 2006;97:42-4 pubmed
  9. Maclachlan J, Jerrett M, Abernathy T, Sears M, Bunch M. Mapping health on the internet: a new tool for environmental justice and public health research. Health Place. 2007;13:72-86 pubmed
    ..The results also underscore the potential of web-GIS to alleviate concerns of cost and data availability that often limit the use of GIS in community debates centred on environmental justice issues. ..

More Information


  1. Kovats R, Kristie L. Heatwaves and public health in Europe. Eur J Public Health. 2006;16:592-9 pubmed
    ..Including evaluation criteria in the design of heatwave early warning systems will help ensure effective and efficient system operation...
  2. Krause G, Brodhun B, Altmann D, Claus H, Benzler J. Reliability of case definitions for public health surveillance assessed by Round-Robin test methodology. BMC Public Health. 2006;6:129 pubmed
  3. Cheung K, Yip K, Townsend J, Scotch M. HCLS 2.0/3.0: health care and life sciences data mashup using Web 2.0/3.0. J Biomed Inform. 2008;41:694-705 pubmed publisher
    ..We discuss the areas of intersection of Web 2.0 and Semantic Web, and describe the potential benefits that can be brought to HCLS research by combining these two sets of technologies. ..
  4. Wells S, Bullen C. A near miss: the importance of context in a public health informatics project in a New Zealand case study. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2008;15:701-4 pubmed publisher
    ..This case study demonstrates that consideration of the social, political, technological, and health care contexts is important for successful implementation of public health informatics projects.
  5. Schindeler S, Muscatello D, Ferson M, Rogers K, Grant P, Churches T. Evaluation of alternative respiratory syndromes for specific syndromic surveillance of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus: a time series analysis. BMC Infect Dis. 2009;9:190 pubmed publisher
    ..7% (95%CI: 4.2%-5.2%) one week earlier. In this study, large increases in ED diagnoses of bronchiolitis and influenza-like illness were independent and proxy indicators for RSV and influenza activity, respectively. ..
  6. Marsden Haug N, Foster V, Gould P, Elbert E, Wang H, Pavlin J. Code-based syndromic surveillance for influenzalike illness by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision. Emerg Infect Dis. 2007;13:207-16 pubmed
    ..Our results demonstrate a method for selecting the best group of ICD-9 codes to assist system developers and health officials who are interpreting similar data for daily public health activities. ..
  7. Mann M, Lloyd Puryear M, Linzer D. Enhancing communication in the 21st century. Pediatrics. 2006;117:S315-9 pubmed
    ..This article discusses some of the advances and efforts in the use of information technology to facilitate enhanced communication for quality health care. ..
  8. Reis B, Kirby C, HADDEN L, Olson K, McMurry A, Daniel J, et al. AEGIS: a robust and scalable real-time public health surveillance system. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2007;14:581-8 pubmed
    ..The report includes a description of the evolution of the design over time in response to the challenges of a regional and national integration environment. ..
  9. Brownstein J, Freifeld C. HealthMap: the development of automated real-time internet surveillance for epidemic intelligence. Euro Surveill. 2007;12:E071129.5 pubmed
  10. AbouZahr C, Boerma T. Health information systems: the foundations of public health. Bull World Health Organ. 2005;83:578-83 pubmed
    ..The Health Metrics Network, a global collaboration in the making, is intended to help bring such solutions to the countries most in need. ..
  11. Cho J, Min Y, Choi S. [Syndromic surveillances based on the emergency department]. J Prev Med Public Health. 2008;41:219-24 pubmed publisher
    ..These systems will be used not only for the early detection of bioterrorism but also for more effective public health responses to disease. ..
  12. Balter S, Weiss D, Hanson H, Reddy V, Das D, Heffernan R. Three years of emergency department gastrointestinal syndromic surveillance in New York City: what have we found?. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:175-80 pubmed
  13. Chanlekha H, Kawazoe A, Collier N. A framework for enhancing spatial and temporal granularity in report-based health surveillance systems. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2010;10:1 pubmed publisher
    ..In the next stage of this work, we plan to develop an automatic zoning system and evaluate its usability within an operational health surveillance system. ..
  14. Buckeridge D, Switzer P, Owens D, Siegrist D, Pavlin J, Musen M. An evaluation model for syndromic surveillance: assessing the performance of a temporal algorithm. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:109-15 pubmed
    ..The performance of surveillance (i.e., timeliness and sensitivity) worsened as the number of persons infected decreased. ..
  15. Chan E, Sahai V, Conrad C, Brownstein J. Using web search query data to monitor dengue epidemics: a new model for neglected tropical disease surveillance. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2011;5:e1206 pubmed publisher
    ..These data represent valuable complement to assist with traditional dengue surveillance. ..
  16. Heisey Grove D, Church D, Haney G, DeMaria A. Enhancing surveillance for hepatitis C through public health informatics. Public Health Rep. 2011;126:13-8 pubmed
    ..These changes have resulted in an increase in the timeliness of reporting. ..
  17. Ansaldi F, Orsi A, Altomonte F, Bertone G, Parodi V, Carloni R, et al. Emergency department syndromic surveillance system for early detection of 5 syndromes: a pilot project in a reference teaching hospital in Genoa, Italy. J Prev Med Hyg. 2008;49:131-5 pubmed
  18. Araujo J, Pepper C, Richards J, Choi M, Xing J, Li W. The profession of public health informatics: still emerging?. Int J Med Inform. 2009;78:375-85 pubmed publisher
    Although public health informatics (PHI) was defined in 1995, both then and still now it is an "emerging" profession. An emergent profession lacks a base of "technical specialized knowledge...
  19. Wu T, Shih F, Yen M, Wu J, Lu S, Chang K, et al. Establishing a nationwide emergency department-based syndromic surveillance system for better public health responses in Taiwan. BMC Public Health. 2008;8:18 pubmed publisher
    ..The system can be adapted to other cultural and language environments for better global surveillance of infectious diseases and international collaboration. ..
  20. Yasnoff W, O Carroll P, Koo D, Linkins R, Kilbourne E. Public health informatics: improving and transforming public health in the information age. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2000;6:67-75 pubmed
    Development of effective public health information systems requires understanding public health informatics (PHI), the systematic application of information and computer science and technology to public health practice, research, and ..
  21. Morse S. Global infectious disease surveillance and health intelligence. Health Aff (Millwood). 2007;26:1069-77 pubmed
    ..The increasing availability of communications and information technologies worldwide offers new opportunities for reporting even in low-capacity settings. ..
  22. Diaz J, Linares C, Tobias A. A critical comment on heat wave response plans. Eur J Public Health. 2006;16:600 pubmed
  23. Muscatello D, Churches T, Kaldor J, Zheng W, Chiu C, Correll P, et al. An automated, broad-based, near real-time public health surveillance system using presentations to hospital Emergency Departments in New South Wales, Australia. BMC Public Health. 2005;5:141 pubmed
    ..The system is ongoing, and has expanded to cover 30 EDs. Results of formal evaluations of both the technical efficiency and the public health impacts of the system will be described subsequently. ..
  24. Kleinman K, Abrams A, Mandl K, Platt R. Simulation for assessing statistical methods of biologic terrorism surveillance. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:101-8 pubmed
    ..Simulation is a valuable technique for evaluating and planning for syndromic surveillance. ..
  25. Terry W, Ostrowsky B, Huang A. Should we be worried? Investigation of signals generated by an electronic syndromic surveillance system--Westchester County, New York. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:190-5 pubmed
    ..Although no communicable disease events were identified, the system provided baseline and timely objective data for hospital visits and improved communication among county health department and hospital ED staff. ..
  26. Smeeth L, Hall A, Fombonne E, Rodrigues L, Huang X, Smith P. A case-control study of autism and mumps-measles-rubella vaccination using the general practice research database: design and methodology. BMC Public Health. 2001;1:2 pubmed
    ..The rigorous validation of all diagnoses and the collection of additional information by parental questionnaire in this study are essential to minimise the possibility of misleading results. ..
  27. Sobel J, Griffin P, Slutsker L, Swerdlow D, Tauxe R. Investigation of multistate foodborne disease outbreaks. Public Health Rep. 2002;117:8-19 pubmed
  28. Olvingson C, Hallberg J, Timpka T, Lindqvist K. Ethical issues in public health informatics: implications for system design when sharing geographic information. J Biomed Inform. 2002;35:178-85 pubmed
    ..Finally, a theoretical model of design issues based on the case study results is presented. ..
  29. Mostashari F, Fine A, Das D, Adams J, Layton M. Use of ambulance dispatch data as an early warning system for communitywide influenzalike illness, New York City. J Urban Health. 2003;80:i43-9 pubmed
    ..More work needs to be done to evaluate the sensitivity of this approach for detecting nonrespiratory illness and more localized outbreaks. ..
  30. Burkom H, Murphy S, Coberly J, Hurt Mullen K. Public health monitoring tools for multiple data streams. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:55-62 pubmed
    ..Strong, consistent correlation among numerous sources warrants the examination of multivariate control charts. ..
  31. Espino J, Wagner M, Szczepaniak C, Tsui F, Su H, Olszewski R, et al. Removing a barrier to computer-based outbreak and disease surveillance--the RODS Open Source Project. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:32-9 pubmed
    ..The RODS laboratory anticipates that after initial installation has been completed, health departments and companies will begin to customize the software and contribute their enhancements to the public code base. ..
  32. Forsetlund L, Bjørndal A. The potential for research-based information in public health: identifying unrecognised information needs. BMC Public Health. 2001;1:1 pubmed
    ..The practitioners did not appear to reflect on the need for scientific information when faced with new cases and few questions of this type were generated. ..
  33. Loonsk J. BioSense--a national initiative for early detection and quantification of public health emergencies. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:53-5 pubmed
    ..g., clinical laboratories, hospital systems, ambulatory care sites, health plans, U.S. Department of Defense and Veterans Administration medical treatment facilities, and pharmacy chains). ..
  34. Lombardo J, Burkom H, Pavlin J. ESSENCE II and the framework for evaluating syndromic surveillance systems. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:159-65 pubmed
    ..ESSENCE II has provided excellent performance with respect to the framework and has proven to be a useful and cost-effective approach for providing early detection of health events. ..
  35. Hutwagner L, Browne T, Seeman G, Fleischauer A. Comparing aberration detection methods with simulated data. Emerg Infect Dis. 2005;11:314-6 pubmed
    ..Methods that require less historical data are as sensitive and specific as those that require 3-5 years of data. These simulations can determine which method produces appropriate sensitivity and specificity. ..
  36. Bradley C, Rolka H, Walker D, Loonsk J. BioSense: implementation of a National Early Event Detection and Situational Awareness System. MMWR Suppl. 2005;54:11-9 pubmed
  37. Mandl K, Reis B, Cassa C. Measuring outbreak-detection performance by using controlled feature set simulations. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:130-6 pubmed
    ..The use of semisynthetic data sets containing authentic baseline and simulated outbreaks defined by a controlled feature set provides a valuable means for benchmarking the detection performance of syndromic surveillance systems. ..
  38. Platt R, Bocchino C, Caldwell B, Harmon R, Kleinman K, Lazarus R, et al. Syndromic surveillance using minimum transfer of identifiable data: the example of the National Bioterrorism Syndromic Surveillance Demonstration Program. J Urban Health. 2003;80:i25-31 pubmed
    ..If successful, this system will allow any organization with appropriate data to contribute vital information to public health syndromic surveillance systems while preserving individuals' privacy to the greatest extent possible. ..
  39. Sosin D, DeThomasis J. Evaluation challenges for syndromic surveillance--making incremental progress. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:125-9 pubmed
    ..It also proposes questions to be answered of all public health systems used for outbreak detection. ..
  40. Greenko J, Mostashari F, Fine A, Layton M. Clinical evaluation of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulance dispatch-based syndromic surveillance system, New York City. J Urban Health. 2003;80:i50-6 pubmed
    ..While EMS-based surveillance is more sensitive for severe illness and for illness affecting older individuals, there is not necessarily a loss of timeliness associated with EMS-based (versus ED-based) surveillance. ..
  41. Adily A, Westbrook J, Coiera E, Ward J. Use of on-line evidence databases by Australian public health practitioners. Med Inform Internet Med. 2004;29:127-36 pubmed
    ..As CIAP is a resource for evidence-based practice, greater effort to increase its use is recommended to ensure population health does not fall behind hospital-based clinicians. ..
  42. Yih W, Caldwell B, Harmon R, Kleinman K, Lazarus R, Nelson A, et al. National Bioterrorism Syndromic Surveillance Demonstration Program. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:43-9 pubmed
    ..Ongoing activities include evaluating the system's ability to detect naturally occurring outbreaks and simulated terrorism events, automating and testing alerts and response capability, and evaluating alternative data sources. ..
  43. Wagner M, Tsui F, Espino J, Hogan W, Hutman J, Hersh J, et al. National Retail Data Monitor for public health surveillance. MMWR Suppl. 2004;53:40-2 pubmed
  44. Snee N, McCormick K. The case for integrating public health informatics networks. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2004;23:81-8 pubmed
  45. Jajosky R, Groseclose S. Evaluation of reporting timeliness of public health surveillance systems for infectious diseases. BMC Public Health. 2004;4:29 pubmed
    ..Further evaluation of the factors that contribute to NNDSS reporting timeliness is warranted. ..
  46. Dato V, Wagner M, Fapohunda A. How outbreaks of infectious disease are detected: a review of surveillance systems and outbreaks. Public Health Rep. 2004;119:464-71 pubmed
    ..State and local health departments and the health care system are major components in the detection of outbreaks. ..
  47. Burkom H. Biosurveillance applying scan statistics with multiple, disparate data sources. J Urban Health. 2003;80:i57-65 pubmed
  48. Lombardo J, Burkom H, Elbert E, Magruder S, Lewis S, Loschen W, et al. A systems overview of the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE II). J Urban Health. 2003;80:i32-42 pubmed
    ..Integration of nonuniform data is needed to increase sensitivity and thus enable the earliest notification possible. The performance of various detection techniques was compared using results obtained from the ESSENCE II system. ..
  49. Hutwagner L, Thompson W, Seeman G, Treadwell T. The bioterrorism preparedness and response Early Aberration Reporting System (EARS). J Urban Health. 2003;80:i89-96 pubmed
    ..Finally, EARS allows end users to select validated aberration detection methods and modify sensitivity and specificity thresholds to values considered to be of public health importance by local and state health departments. ..
  50. Singer P, Wolfson M. "The best places to die". BMJ. 2003;327:173-4 pubmed
  51. Pappaioanou M, Malison M, Wilkins K, Otto B, Goodman R, Churchill R, et al. Strengthening capacity in developing countries for evidence-based public health: the data for decision-making project. Soc Sci Med. 2003;57:1925-37 pubmed
    ..Results showed that the DDM strategy improved evidence-based public health. Subsequently, DDM concepts and practices have been institutionalized in participating countries and at CDC. ..
  52. Heffernan R, Mostashari F, Das D, Karpati A, Kulldorff M, Weiss D. Syndromic surveillance in public health practice, New York City. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004;10:858-64 pubmed
    ..Eighty-three percent of the signals for diarrhea and 88% of the signals for vomiting occurred during periods of suspected norovirus and rotavirus transmission. ..
  53. Silk B, Berkelman R. A review of strategies for enhancing the completeness of notifiable disease reporting. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2005;11:191-200 pubmed
    ..Recent attention to public health preparedness provides an opportunity to strengthen notifiable disease surveillance and enhance completeness of reporting. ..