Two Finalists Announced for HIMSS Public Health Davies Award

When it comes to tracking disease outbreak, childhood immunizations, or illness during natural disasters, public health professionals often rely on health information technology systems to gather valuable data and alert clinicians and other healthcare professionals on life-threatening medical situations.  Citing the beneficial role such health IT systems play in public health surveillance and management, HIMSS announces two finalists for its HIMSS Public Health Davies Award of Excellence.

Fourteen public health systems have received the HIMSS Public Health Davies Award of Excellence, introduced in 2004

When it comes to tracking disease outbreak, childhood immunizations, or illness during natural disasters, public health professionals often rely on health information technology systems to gather valuable data and alert clinicians and other healthcare professionals on life-threatening medical situations.  Citing the beneficial role such health IT systems play in public health surveillance and management, HIMSS announces two finalists for its HIMSS Public Health Davies Award of Excellence.

Florida Department of Health – Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, Florida (ESSENCE-FL): The Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control, Bureau of Epidemiology, Acute Disease Epidemiology Section manages the ESSENCE-FL system.  The system is valued, trusted and relied upon daily by state and county-level epidemiologists for the more than 18 million residents and an additional 80.3 million tourists who visit the state each year. ESSENCE-FL was implemented to meet a diverse set of public health challenges with an intuitive system that epidemiologists could use without specialized training to make decisions and conduct analyses for outbreak detection and other conditions under surveillance.

For example, the secure, multi-tier and web-based application allows all public health users and hospital staff to log in to access applicable data.  The separate data sources collected in ESSENCE-FL supports a process that takes thousands of individual data points, categorizes and aggregates them, and translates them into “information for action.”

Data from the system has been used for post-disaster surveillance for Hurricane Wilma in 2005; a gastrointestinal illness outbreak traced back to a deli; routine monitoring of reportable disease data; the cholera cases following the Haiti earthquake; and a program focused childhood drowning prevention education.

The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Primary Care Information Project: The Primary Care Information Project is a Bureau of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that seeks to improve the quality of care in underserved communities through health information technology. With a staff of 95, PCIP has extended prevention-oriented EHRs to over 2,500 NYC primary care providers working in underserved settings. This virtually integrated healthcare system includes 471 independent small practices, 34 community health centers and four hospitals. Collectively, these practices serve nearly 2 million patients in NYC; about one quarter of the total NYC population. These practices, selected for their high volumes of Medicaid and uninsured patients, all have access to shared resources such as clinical quality and technical staff, a unified public health hub, quality dashboards and group trainings. By leveraging data derived from this EHR network, Primary Care Information Project allows the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to conduct programs in a more strategic, data-driven manner.

“Our Davies Public Health Committee will conduct a site visit for these two finalists and vote in July to select the winners, who will be announced in August at the CDC Public Health Informatics Conference in Atlanta, Ga.,” said Julia Gunn, RN, MPH, Chair, of the committee. Ms. Gunn is Director, Communicable Diseases Division, Boston Public Health Commission, Infectious Disease Bureau and a 2009 HIMSS Davies Public Health award winner with the Boston Public Health Commission, Infectious Disease Bureau; Boston Syndromic Surveillance System (B-SYNSS). “We congratulate these two finalists for their accomplishments and contributions to improving healthcare delivery for citizens of their respective states.”

Contact David Collins at dcollins@himss.org for more information on the award application process. Since guidelines and deadlines vary for each award, visit http://www.himss.org/davies on the HIMSS website for more information.

Background on the HIMSS Davies Awards of Excellence:

•The HIMSS Public Health Davies award recognizes any federal, state, local, tribal or nonprofit public health program that improves the health of a defined community through health information management.

•This public health award emphasizes measuring and improving the health of a defined population, such as children who need immunizations or those with a chronic disease, through a public health information system used routinely to provide current data that public health professionals can use or act upon.

•The four categories of the HIMSS Davies Awards program are: hospitals and health systems, independent physician practices, public health, and community health organizations.

•Each winner has successfully achieved value from electronic health records to improve healthcare delivery.

About HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence
The HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence recognizes excellence in the implementation and use of health information technology, specifically electronic health records (EHRs), for healthcare organizations, private practices, public health systems, and community health organizations.  Created by CPRI-HOST in 1994, the first three recipients of the Davies Organizational Award were recognized in 1995.  In 2002, CPRI-HOST merged with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), and now, HIMSS manages the award program.  The Award honors Dr. Nicholas E. Davies, an Atlanta-based practicing physician, president-elect of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Improving the Patient Record, who died in 1991 in a plane crash. Visit www.himss.org/davies for more information, including educational resources.

   

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