October 20, 2017: Automated Public Health Surveillance Using Electronic Health Record Data


Michael Klompas, MD, MPH, FIDSA, FSHEA
Associate Professor
Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA


Automated Public Health Surveillance Using Electronic Health Record Data


Pragmatic clinical trial; Clinical research; Electronic health record; EHR; Health surveillance; Harvard Pilgrim

Key Points

  • Electronic health record (EHR) systems are a rich potential source for detailed, timely, and efficient surveillance of large populations.
  • The Harvard School of Public Health created an EHR system for public health surveillance, the Electronic Medical Record Support for Public Health (ESP) platform.
  • Data from electronic health records can help providers to find disparities in care patterns and outcomes, and to inform interventions for vulnerable members of the population.
  • Interactive visualization software can unlock the power of EHR data to track disease incidence rates, characteristics, and trends.

Discussion Themes

Electronic health record data allows for more sensitive and specific disease detection compared to insurance claims.

The Electronic Medical Record Support for Public Health (ESP) platform allows clinical practice groups to participate in public health surveillance while retaining ownership and control of their data.

The ESP platform is also a vehicle to find and track patients who are prescribed opioids in real time, which is critical in the climate of nationwide opioid abuse epidemic. 

There are tools similar to RiskScape in other states that have comparable functionality in finding and organizing patient data to track and monitor public health trends.

For More Information

For more information on PROs, visit the Living Textbook http://bit.ly/2ym4R79 #pctGR


@Collaboratory1, @HarvardPilgrim, #EHRs, #healthsurveillance, #clinicalresearch, #depression, #diabetes, #obesity, #pctGR

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