The Public Health Community Platform, Electronic Case Reporting, and the Digital Bridge
At the intersection of new technology advancements, ever-changing health policy, and fiscal constraints, public health agencies seek to leverage modern technical innovations and benefit from a more comprehensive and cooperative approach to transforming public health, health care, and other data into action. State health agencies recognized a way to advance population health was to integrate public health with clinical health data through electronic infectious disease case reporting. The Public Health Community Platform (PHCP) concept of bidirectional data flow and knowledge management became the foundation to build a cloud-based system connecting electronic health records to public health data for a select initial set of notifiable conditions. With challenges faced and lessons learned, significant progress was made and the PHCP grew into the Digital Bridge, a national governance model for systems change, bringing together software vendors, public health, and health care. As the model and technology advance together, opportunities to advance future connectivity solutions for both health care and public health will emerge.