Development and Assessment of a Public Health Alert Delivered through a Community Health Information Exchange

Roland Gamache, Kevin C Stevens, Ricardo Merriwether, Brian E Dixon, Shaun Grannis


Timely communication of information to health care providers during a public health event can improve overall response to such events. However, current methods for sending information to providers are inefficient and costly. Local health departments have traditionally used labor-intensive, mail-based processes to send public health alerts to the provider community. This article describes a novel approach for delivering public health alerts to providers by leveraging an electronic clinical messaging system within the context of a health information exchange. Alerts included notifications related to the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic, a syphilis outbreak, and local rabies exposure. We describe the process for sending electronic public health alerts and the estimated impact on efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Keywords: public health alerts, health information exchange, syndromic surveillance, clinical messaging, H1N1 flu, broadcast alert

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *