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Information systems in support of public health in high-income countries 

Information systems in support of public health in high-income countries
Chapter:
Information systems in support of public health in high-income countries
Author(s):

Tjeerd-Pieter van Staa

and Liam Smeeth

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199661756.003.0100
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date: 22 September 2019

Public health activities are dependent on the availability of information and ability to disseminate information to clinicians/healthcare providers, individuals, and communities. The increasing computerization of healthcare systems can offer opportunities to improve these activities. Databases of electronic healthcare records are used for disease surveillance and monitoring healthcare interventions. The quality and quantity of reporting of notifiable diseases may be improved by regular review of the electronic healthcare records. Randomized trials that recruit patients at the point of care and use the electronic healthcare records for collection of follow-up information can be used to test the effectiveness of healthcare intervention in routine clinical practice. Cluster trials that randomize different clinics or regions can compare different public health policies and improve the evidence base for the pragmatic use of public health interventions. Better information systems providing data on risks and benefits of healthcare interventions will provide an important impetus to evidence-based public health.

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