Making a Powerful Connection: the Health of the Public and the National Information Infrastructure. 4.0 What is the Role of Information in Population-based Public Health?


The extent to which public health achieves its mission depends, in large part, on the availability of accurate, comparable, timely, and complete information. In fact, one could say that the collection, analysis, use, and communication of health-related information is the quintessential public health service, undergirding all others. The three types of information needs outlined below cut across all of the essential services of public health. Meeting these needs depends not only on a supportive technical infrastructure, but also on personnel with the skills to use emerging technologies (both to communicate and to translate complex data into meaningful information), and on a willingness among professionals in different sectors to work together toward common goals.