Informatics

Grantee: Task Force for Global Health/Public Health Informatics Institute

Public health is dependent on information and data, and health care reform has accelerated the use of electronic data and automation. Public health agencies are increasingly being called upon to implement information systems that integrate and exchange data with their community partners, including clinicians, hospitals, and laboratories. At the same time, budget cuts are forcing agencies to streamline workflows and do more with less. The de Beaumont Foundation has worked to build empower health professionals with informatics skills through hands-on trainings.

Executive Informatics: The de Beaumont Foundation helped create an online training program for executives that helps public health leaders keep up with constantly evolving technology related to public health informatics. The distance-based learning platform included a series of webinars and podcasts, a toolbox, and a virtual community.

Informatics Academy: Through funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, the Public Health Informatics Institute, in collaboration with the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, created the Public Health Informatics Academy. The academy provides public health managers with hands-on skills in key informatics competencies, such as developing and documenting information system requirements, managing projects, and analyzing stakeholder communication needs, among others.

Informatics for Everyone: The first critical step in gaining an informatics-savvy public health workforce is helping practitioners understand the relevance of informatics to the practical information problems they face every day. With funding from the de Beaumont Foundation, the Public Health Informatics Institute created a series of distance-learning activities that helped practitioners shift the perception of their roles from a specific disease or condition view to an information view. These activities were aimed at demystifying the term “informatics” and helping practitioners see that informatics is an important part of their knowledge and skill toolkit. Watch the animated “Informatics for Everyone” videos.

Public Health Informatics Training Network: The de Beaumont Foundation and Public Health Informatics Institute hosted a meeting in March 2012 to discuss informatics training needs. After identifying a need for better coordination around informatics training, the Foundation provided additional funding to develop a shared action agenda for designing and conducting public health informatics training. The agenda organized partners’ efforts and focus on training; helped keep partners mutually and collegially accountable for their activities and efforts; and provided input into new investment opportunities for funders. Ultimately, this project helped identify, prioritize, and satisfy informatics training needs among the public health workforce.