The Integration of Regional Health Information Organizations with Syndromic Surveillance

Author: Jennifer L. Rankin, MHA, MS

Primary Advisor: Kim Dunn, MD, PhD (co-author)

Committee Members:

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston.


Regional Health Information Organizations are an emerging concept in health information sharing and have the potential to transform how health care is delivered by changing how health information is gathered, stored and shared. In parallel, the public health sector is developing information systems for epidemiological surveillance. These types of systems should be integrated in order to, at a minimum, achieve the common goal of aggregating of clinical data. Analysis of the literature on health information exchange projects was limited to the 134 profiles listed on the Connecting Communities for Better Health Resource Center of the Foundation for eHealth Initiative website. The profiles were scanned for key words of interest to public health. Few of these health information exchange projects have included both clinical and public health purposes. Much work needs to be done to realize the goals of the framework for the National Health Information Infrastructure and the Public Health Information Network, both of which call for a merging of purpose and data sharing. Clinical- public health hybrid models that take advantage of the common data source, shared information architecture, and benefit of a mixed financial model will ultimately be the most sustainable, and the most beneficial to the community.