Monthly Archives: February 2015

Join the NACCHO Advisory Workgroups – ePublic Health Informatics and Biosurveillance!

Want to Serve on NACCHO’s Advisory Groups?

NACCHO will accept applications for 2015-2016 advisory group appointments March 1- 31. To see which groups are recruiting members, and express your interest in serving, please visit

NACCHO’s advisory groups are a primary and recognized vehicle for identifying the opportunities and challenges facing local health departments (LHDs) and the field at large. NACCHO members from all areas of public health come together to explore the many facets of the field and help NACCHO make the best decisions in serving its members, and local public health.

NACCHO is your professional home –Lead by sharing your talents and expertise. For more information, contact or call 877-533-1320.

ASTHO & ISDS Webinar – March 4, 2015 “Public Health Community Platform: A future solution for a modern public health enterprise”

Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Time: 12:00PM – 1:00 PM EST (5:00 PM – 6:00 PM GMT)


Marcus Rennick, Director, Informatics Standards, ASTHO

Wayne Loschen, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL)


The Public Health Community Platform (PHCP) is a CDC-funded ASTHO project envisioned to provide Universal access to modernized shared resources that efficiently, securely, and collaboratively transform data into action for a healthier nation.

Over the past four decades, the public health enterprise has developed a wide variety of computer-based information systems to improve the ways data are collected, shared, and analyzed. The proliferation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and other online data sets makes information more accessible and useful than ever before. There are, however, challenges in unleashing the full power of these resources.

The current state of health information systems remains fragmented and insufficient to tackle the complexity and volume of the data that is already flowing. As with much computer-based technology in the past, these data systems and software were originally created on an as-needed basis, usually customized precisely to the needs of a particular program and not envisioned with an external compatibility in mind.

As the world becomes smaller with public health issues transcending geographies, working together and integrating systems and data will be crucial in preventing, detecting, and responding to issues that endanger the public’s health.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the presentation, attendees will be able to…
1. Describe the current state of development for the PHCP
2. Identify the efficiencies and value in leveraging cloud-based technology
3. Identify potential future uses for a community-developed PHCP


Learn more about this webinar on our website.

Joint PH Forum & CDC Nationwide Webinar – February 19, 2015

Meeting Invitation for:

Date:    Thursday, February 19, 2015 

Time:    3:00 pm Eastern Time / 2:00 pm Central Time / 1:00 pm Mountain Time / 12:00 pm Pacific Time


Dear Public Health Forum Members & Colleagues:

The meeting agenda and the webinar registration information are provided below.

Important Notes:

  • GoToWebinar is used for these webinars and pre-registration is required.
  • If you haven’t already registered for these monthly webinars, please follow the registration information listed below to receive an email with instructions on how to join these webinars.
    • You will receive a unique participant link to join these recurring meetings. This link should not be shared with others; it is unique to you.
    • The email you receive will include a link to add these recurring meetings to your calendar.
    • If you have not used GoToWebinar before, you are advised to test your connectivity prior to the meeting. A link to connectivity test information is provided below.
  • If you previously registered for these monthly webinars and cannot locate your unique participant link, please use the registration link provided below and your unique participant link will be resent.



  • Announcements (CDC and ONC) – [5 minutes]
  • Presentation: RCKMS: Helping Advance Electronic Case Reporting – [40 minutes]

Presenters/Panel Members: 

Laura A. Conn, MPH, Director, Health Information Strategy Unit, Office of Public Health Scientific Services (OPHSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lauri Smithee, PhD, Director Acute Disease Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health

Ryan M. Arnold, MPH, Biostatistician, Houston Department of Health and Human Services


The reportable conditions system is a cornerstone of public health surveillance.  Each Public Health Jurisdictions maintains a list of conditions that are reportable to them, along with associated criteria that should be met before a report is sent (e.g., combinations of demographic, lab, clinical criteria). Accurate, timely and complete reporting of reportable conditions depends on reporters having correct and current information about this “who, what, when, where, and how” of reporting.  To support automated detection and electronic reporting, these reporting criteria must transition from the currently available human-readable text to machine-consumable representations.

The Reportable Conditions Knowledge Management System (RCKMS) pilot project has several main objectives:

  • To create an administration tool to catalog and manage jurisdictional reporting specifications for pilot conditions that can be extended into a single, comprehensive, authoritative, real-time portal for all conditions.
  • To provide reporting specification in both human-readable text and machine-consumable rules that can be used within a Reporter’s Clinical Decision Support system (CDS) or within OpenCDS via a web service call.
  • To use the lessons learned in assessing variability across pilot conditions and jurisdictions to draft processes and patterns to further reduce variations and determine where criteria can be streamlined.
  • To improve the common understanding of stakeholder’s perspectives (e.g., state and local PH, CDC, vendors/ implementers, reporters) across the case reporting flow.
  • Question and Answer Session – [15 minutes]

Webinar Registration Instructions

Pre-register for this online event at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The invitation will include a link to add these recurring meetings to your calendar.

GoToWebinar System Requirements and Connectivity Test Information

View GoToWebinar System Requirements:

Connectivity Test Information:

EHR Meaningful Use Communications

Office of Public Health Scientific Services (OPHSS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Webinar Recording: PHII’s Public Health Information Supply Chain: Findings and Implications

We are so grateful to our speaker Juneka Rembert, of the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) for her presentation titled “Public Health Information Supply Chain: Findings and Implications.” This webinar presented findings on the public health information exchange capacity in the state of California and Massachusetts. This webinar will help health departments understand the current state of notifiable disease data exchange in different states, learn about the challenges to disease data exchange for both state and local health departments, and receive recommendations for improving the notifiable disease data exchange process. During the presentation, you will hear from the California and Massachusetts health department officials who participated in this study.

You can access a recording of the webinar through the following link:

Webinar: Exploring the Use of Electronic Health Records to Support Tobacco Cessation and Million Hearts

Webinar: Exploring the Use of Electronic Health Records to Support Tobacco Cessation and Million Hearts

Rescheduled to: Monday, April 13, 2015, 1:00-2:30 PM EDT

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. The use of electronic health records can play an important role in improving health by supporting tobacco cessation efforts.

This webinar, hosted by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) will explore and identify opportunities for using electronic health records (EHRs) to improve two of the ABCS of Million Hearts: smoking cessation efforts and improving blood pressure control. Furthermore, we will provide an overview and national perspective of EHR use, state and local examples, and available resources to support these efforts.

The intended audience for this webinar includes state health agencies, local health agencies and community based clinics.

Register at:

ONC Issues Draft Nationwide Health IT Interoperability Roadmap

Please check out the information below from ONC regarding the release of their draft roadmap.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0. The draft Roadmap is a proposal to deliver better care and result in healthier people through the safe and secure exchange and use of electronic health information.

“HHS is working to achieve a better health care system with healthier patients, but to do that, we need to ensure that information is available both to consumers and their doctors,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Great progress has been made to digitize the care experience, and now it’s time to free up this data so patients and providers can securely access their health information when and where they need it. A successful learning system relies on an interoperable health IT system where information can be collected, shared, and used to improve health, facilitate research, and inform clinical outcomes. This Roadmap explains what we can do over the next three years to get there.”

The draft Roadmap builds on the vision paper, Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A 10-Year Vision to Achieve an Interoperable Health IT Infrastructure, issued in June 2014. Months of comment and feedback from hundreds of health and health IT experts from across the nation through ONC advisory group feedback, listening sessions and an online forum aided in the development of the Roadmap.

“To realize better care and the vision of a learning health system, we will work together across the public and private sectors to clearly define standards, motivate their use through clear incentives, and establish trust in the health IT ecosystem through defining the rules of engagement. We look forward to working collaboratively and systematically with federal, state and private sector partners to see that electronic health information is available when and where it matters,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT.

Today’s announcement is linked with the administration’s Precision Medicine Initiative to improve care and speed the development of new treatments, as well as the Department-wide effort to achieve better care, smarter spending and healthier people through improvements to our health care delivery system. As part of this work, HHS is focused on three key areas: (1) improving the way providers are paid, (2) improving and innovating in care delivery, and (3) sharing information more broadly to providers, consumers, and others to support better decisions while maintaining privacy. The draft Roadmap identifies critical actions to achieve success in sharing information and interoperability and outlines a timeframe for implementation.

The draft Roadmap calls for ONC to identify the best available technical standards for core interoperability functions. With today’s announcement, ONC is delivering on this action with the release of the Draft 2015 Interoperability Advisory: The best available standards and implementation specifications for interoperability of clinical health information (“Standards Advisory”). The Standards Advisory represents ONC’s assessment of the best available standards and implementation specifications for clinical health information interoperability as of December 2014.

“ONC’s interoperability Roadmap will help guide our progress toward seamless integration of electronic health record data,” said Mr. Christopher Miller, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems within the Department of Defense. “We are proud to be working closely with ONC and other public and private partners to ensure that our health care providers have a complete picture of health information from all sources. The availability of this information increases the medical readiness of our operational forces and enables delivery of the highest quality care that our service members, veterans and their families deserve. We look forward to our continued partnership with ONC as we expand the safe and secure exchange of standardized healthcare data to improve the overall health of our nation.”

“The benefits to patients and to the future of American health care in achieving full interoperability are enormous. A system built on accessible information and secure, meaningful data sharing will elevate health care delivery, advance quality and cost-efficiency and enable new strides in medical research. We applaud HHS and the Office of the National Coordinator for making interoperability a national priority and we believe that, by bringing together the ideas and technological expertise from both the public and private sectors, it is a foreseeable and achievable goal,” said Mary R. Grealy, president, Healthcare Leadership Council.

“Interoperability plays a critical role in improving the quality, cost, and patient experience of care and is foundational to both consumer decision-making and new models of health care delivery and payment,” said Janet Marchibroda, director of the Health Innovation Initiative and executive director of the CEO Council on Health and Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “We applaud ONC’s leadership in creating the roadmap and releasing the standards advisory, as well as its ongoing commitment to public engagement in shaping a path forward.”

“While we have made great strides as a nation to improve EHR adoption, we must pivot towards true interoperability based on clear, defined and enforceable standards,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, F.C.H.I.M.E., C.H.C.I.O. “This Roadmap incorporates a tremendous amount of stakeholder input and articulates a clear path towards interoperability. It is a cornerstone in the continuing evolution of federal health IT policymaking.”

“The HHS interoperability roadmap announced today is an important step forward for all of us committed to a data-driven approach to improving health care. If the public and private sectors will work together on solving the interoperability challenge, we have a chance to significantly improve the practice of medicine and, most importantly, the health of patients across this country. I applaud HHS for its leadership in this area, and I look forward to partnering with the agency on this important initiative,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO, eHealth Initiative.

The draft Roadmap, designed in concert with the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015 – 2020, is based on a core set of building blocks that are needed to achieve interoperability:

  1. Core technical standards and functions;
  2. Certification to support adoption and optimization of health IT products and services;
  3. Privacy and security protections for health information;
  4. Supportive business, clinical, cultural, and regulatory environments; and
  5. Rules of engagement and governance

The draft Roadmap and Standards Advisory are available for viewing The public comment period for the draft Roadmap closes April 3, 2015. The public comment period for the Standards Advisory closes May 1, 2015.

ISDS Webinar – What is WEAVE, what can it do, and what is the future? February 10, 2015

What is WEAVE, what can it do, and what is its future?

Date: Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Time: 12:00PM – 1:00 PM EST


Georges Grinstein – Professor, Computer Science Department Director, Institute for Visualization and Perception Research Director – Center for Biomolecular and Medical Informatics – University of Massachusetts Lowell


WEAVE is an interactive web-based analysis and visualization system. It links data (files, databases, sets, …), multiple visualizations (maps, graphs, …), and computational tools (statistics, data mining, modeling, simulation, …). It was designed to provide easy access to existing data sets and simple upload of local data, allowing anyone to visualize any available data anywhere. WEAVE is free and open source – one less barrier to the democratization of data. In this webinar we will provide a rapid introduction to why visualization is useful, show several examples of WEAVE, show what it can do and its flexibility in not just data exploration or real-time monitoring, but also in its developing interactive presentation visualizations for the public. We will then show prototypes of future WEAVE features.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this presentation, attendees will…

  1. Learn the role and value of visualization for data exploration and presentation.
  2. See a variety of visualizations.
  3. Learn about WEAVE, a state of the art visual analytics system.
  4. Learn about some key research questions in visualization and data analysis.