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A Vision for More Effective Public Health Information Technology

23 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2007 Last revised: 20 Nov 2008

David A. Bray

Harvard University; University of Oxford; National Defense University

Date Written: January 1, 2004

Abstract

Recently there has been a surge in dialogue both among public health partners and within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding efforts to identify a consolidated set of "best practices" of software application development, specifically to fit the mold of public health information technology (IT). While the intentions behind these motivations are to be applauded -- such talk recognizes the truth that public health IT is a complicated and difficult field which attempts to provide workable, viable technology solutions for additional public health capacity -- intentions toward a single set of consolidated IT approaches risk surrendering the strength of public health to adapt and respond to unforeseen challenges, such as outbreaks or emergency scenarios. Not all areas of public health have the same set of requirements. Epidemiological response to a sudden disease outbreak, for example, will be quite different in its approaches and investigative methods from a response to an increase in chronic disease in a specific population group. Unique disease outbreaks each unfold differently. Similarly, laboratory methods for clinical specimens vs. environmental samples are not expected to follow precisely similar practices either, for each is a unique entity.

Keywords: public health information technology, emergency response, outbreak scenarios, innovations

JEL Classification: D70, D83, O31, O38

Suggested Citation

Bray, David A., A Vision for More Effective Public Health Information Technology (January 1, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=962532 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.962532

David Bray (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Oxford

Oxford
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dbray

National Defense University ( email )

Marshall Hall
300 5th Avenue
Washington, DC 20319-5066
United States

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