Making a Powerful Connection: the Health of the Public and the National Information Infrastructure. 9.1 State and Local Public Health Agencies


  • Work with the broad public health community (including government agencies involved in mental health, substance abuse, environmental health, and occupational health as well as public health associations) to develop a compelling vision of how NII technologies can improve population health, including specific examples of the ways that NII technology can meet the information needs of public health professionals, consumers, and policymakers.
  • Actively seek out partnerships and funding opportunities with health care organizations, medical informatics groups, and the commercial sector.
  • Ensure that public health has a seat at the table as state or community decisions about privacy, standards, sharing, and ownership of health data are discussed.
  • Join forces with other groups, including the medical informatics, telemedicine, and managed care communities, in explaining the chilling effect of the lack of federal privacy legislation on health-related applications of the NII.
  • In the absence of federal legislation, work to enact state laws that protect the privacy of individually-identifiable health information while supporting critical analytic uses of this information to improve population health.
  • In the absence of national standards, work toward statewide partnerships for the implementation of multipurpose data standards (i.e., standards that make health data useful to those who record and collect them as well as to consumers, researchers, public health professionals, policymakers, and others who require these data for health-related purposes).
  • Assure that logically integrated health information systems currently under development in states, communities, or agencies, have the flexibility to incorporate emerging vocabulary and classification standards.
  • Encourage and support information technology training for public health professionals.
  • Develop and present to relevant federal agencies specific proposals for combining funding streams to implement logically integrated health information systems that meet the needs of multiple programs. Take advantage of funding opportunities in the proposed Performance Partnership Grants to develop and maintain integrated health information systems.