Public Health, Population Health, and Epidemiology Informatics: Recent Research and Trends in the United States
11 September 2017 (online)
Objectives: To survey advances in public and population health and epidemiology informatics over the past 18 months. Methods: We conducted a review of English-language research works conducted in the domain of public and population health informatics and published in MEDLINE or Web of Science between January 2015 and June 2016 where information technology or informatics was a primary subject or main component of the study methodology. Selected articles were presented using a thematic analysis based on the 2011 American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Public Health Informatics Agenda tracks as a typology.
Results: Results are given within the context developed by Dixon et al., (2015) and key themes from the 2011 AMIA Public Health Informatics Agenda. Advances are presented within a socio-technical infrastructure undergirded by a trained, competent public health workforce, systems development to meet the business needs of the practice field, and research that evaluates whether those needs are adequately met. The ability to support and grow the infrastructure depends on financial sustainability.
Conclusions: The fields of public health and population health informatics continue to grow, with the most notable developments focused on surveillance, workforce development, and linking to or providing clinical services, which encompassed population health informatics advances. Very few advances addressed the need to improve communication, coordination, and consistency with the field of informatics itself, as identified in the AMIA agenda. This will likely result in the persistence of the silos of public health information systems that currently exist. Future research activities need to aim toward a holistic approach of informatics across the enterprise.