Development and Assessment of a Public Health Alert Delivered through a Community Health Information Exchange

Online J Public Health Inform. 2010;2(2):ojphi.v2i2.3214. doi: 10.5210/ojphi.v2i2.3214. Epub 2010 Oct 29.


Timely communication of information to health care providers during a public health event can improve overall response to such events. However, current methods for sending information to providers are inefficient and costly. Local health departments have traditionally used labor-intensive, mail-based processes to send public health alerts to the provider community. This article describes a novel approach for delivering public health alerts to providers by leveraging an electronic clinical messaging system within the context of a health information exchange. Alerts included notifications related to the 2009 H1N1 flu epidemic, a syphilis outbreak, and local rabies exposure. We describe the process for sending electronic public health alerts and the estimated impact on efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Keywords: H1N1 flu; broadcast alert; clinical messaging; health information exchange; public health alerts; syndromic surveillance.