An Electronic Health Record-Public Health (EHR-PH) System Prototype for Interoperability in 21st Century Healthcare Systems

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Currently, public health data systems function as “silos” where data is not easily shared. Because EHRs are becoming increasingly present in clinician’s offices and hospitals, they offer an opportunity for public health data systems to collect accurate and real time information.


The authors present an EHR-Public Health system prototype demonstrating feasibility of electronic data transfer from a healthcare provider to multiple public health systems using data for all major clinical events in a newborn (from birth until 48 hours old), including immunizations and hearing tests, through HL7 messaging standards.


Six steps of the prototype are described, one for each test of public health interest done on the newborn. The authors present them in sequence, and describe how the information is transported from the clinician’s office to the central repository. The authors state that the prototype was successfully presented at the 2005 HL7 meeting and the 2005 HIMSS Convention.


The prototyped presented could be potentially replicated and used to build a National Health Information Network (NHIN). It offers many advantages, such as each system being able to retain their information while sharing it with other systems.

My comments

Overall, this was a very good article for those interested in Public Health Informatics. However, it would have been beneficial to see the proposed prototype being put into practice and see real results rather than a theoretical simulation.[1]


  1. Orlova, Dunnagan, Finitzo, Higgins, Watkins, Tien, & Beales. 2005.An Electronic Health Record - Public Health (EHR-PH) System Prototype for Interoperability in 21st Century Healthcare Systems.