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Introduction to Public Health Informatics

Part of the Health Informatics book series (HI)

Abstract

The transformation of public health by informatics is still in the nascent stages. Thus far, informatics in public health generally has been relegated to “pushing the broom” at the end of the parade: public health has tended to bring in informaticists to help resolve systemic issues such as non-interoperability, rather than realizing the full potential benefits that would accrue from their involvement at the outset.

To facilitate the understanding of Public Health Informatics, this chapter includes a brief review of public health, discussing the purpose, history, structural organization, and challenges of public health. Once the context of public health has been reviewed, the principles of Public Health Informatics are described, including some history and background, and the challenges encountered, as well as the drivers for change.

Although the discipline of public health informatics has much in common with other informatics specialty areas, it differs from them in several ways. These include (a) a focus on applications of information science and technology that promote the health of populations, rather than of individuals, (b) a focus on disease prevention, rather than treatment, (c) a focus on preventive intervention at all vulnerable points in the causal chains leading to disease, injury, or disability, and (d) operation within a governmental, rather than a private, context.

Drivers of change forcing public health professionals to be conversant with the development, use, and strategic importance of computerized health information systems include health reform, advances in information technology, the advent of Big Data, and continuation of disruptive innovation.

Keywords

  • Big Data
  • Disruptive innovation
  • Electronic Health Record
  • Gene patenting
  • Healthy People
  • Informatician
  • Informaticist
  • Informatik
  • Informatique
  • Infrastructure
  • Meaningful use
  • Mobile technology
  • Open access
  • Personal health record
  • Personalized medicine
  • Prevalence
  • Preventability
  • Severity
  • Software as a Service
  • SaaS
  • Telehealth
  • Value
  • Variety
  • Velocity
  • Volume

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Fig. 1.1

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Correspondence to J. A. Magnuson PhD .

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Magnuson, J.A., O’Carroll, P.W. (2014). Introduction to Public Health Informatics. In: Magnuson, J., Fu, Jr., P. (eds) Public Health Informatics and Information Systems. Health Informatics. Springer, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-4237-9_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-4237-9_1

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