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Am J Infect Control. 2013 Sep;41(9):787-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.10.022. Epub 2013 Feb 14.

Infection preventionists' awareness of and engagement in health information exchange to improve public health surveillance.

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School of Informatics and Computing, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, USA.



Advances in electronic health record (EHR) systems and health information exchange (HIE) are shifting efforts in public health toward greater use of information systems to automate notifiable disease surveillance. Little is known about infection preventionists' (IPs) awareness, adoption, and use of these technologies to report information to public health.


To measure awareness and engagement in EHR and HIE activities, an online survey of IPs was conducted in states with HIE networks. A total of 63 IPs was invited to participate; 44 IPs (69%) responded. The survey asked about the adoption and use of EHR systems, participation in regional HIE initiatives, and IP needs with respect to EHR systems and public health reporting.


Over 70% of responding IPs reported access to an EHR system, but less than 20% of IPs with access to an EHR reported being involved in the design, selection, or implementation of the system. Just 10% of IPs reported that their organizations were formally engaged in HIE activities, and 49% were unaware of organizational involvement in HIE. IPs expressed a desire for better decision support, paperless reporting methods, and situational awareness of community outbreaks.


Many IPs lack awareness and engagement in EHR and HIE activities, which may limit IPs ability to influence or utilize key information technologies as they are implemented in health care organizations.


Computer assisted decision making; Computerized medical records systems; Epidemiology; Public health informatics

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