Use of Electronic Health Records and Administrative Data for Public Health Surveillance of Eye Health and Vision-Related Conditions in the United States

American Journal of Ophthalmology (Impact Factor: 3.87). 12/2012; 154(6):S63-S70. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajo.2011.10.002


To discuss the current trend toward greater use of electronic health records and how these records could enhance public health surveillance of eye health and vision-related conditions.DesignPerspective, comparing systems.Methods
We describe 3 currently available sources of electronic health data (Kaiser Permanente, the Veterans Health Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and how these sources can contribute to a comprehensive vision and eye health surveillance system.ResultsEach of the 3 sources of electronic health data can contribute meaningfully to a comprehensive vision and eye health surveillance system, but none currently provide all the information required. The use of electronic health records for vision and eye health surveillance has both advantages and disadvantages.Conclusions
Electronic health records may provide additional information needed to create a comprehensive vision and eye health surveillance system. Recommendations for incorporating electronic health records into such a system are presented.

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    ABSTRACT: Public health surveillance conducted by health departments in the United States has improved in completeness and timeliness owing to electronic laboratory reporting. However, the collection of detailed clinical information about reported cases, which is necessary to confirm the diagnosis, to understand transmission, or to determine disease-related risk factors, is still heavily dependent on manual processes. The increasing prevalence and functionality of electronic health record (EHR) systems in the United States present important opportunities to advance public health surveillance. EHR data have the potential to further increase the breadth, detail, timeliness, and completeness of public health surveillance and thereby provide better data to guide public health interventions. EHRs also provide a unique opportunity to expand the role and vision of current surveillance efforts and to help bridge the gap between public health practice and clinical medicine. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Public Health Volume 36 is March 18, 2015. Please see for revised estimates.
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