Recommendations for Public Health and Informatics Partners to Support Uptake of the National Healthcare Safety Network’s Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Modules

Infections caused by antimicrobial‐resistant organisms are a grave threat to our nation’s health. Key strategies for combating this threat include tracking antimicrobial‐resistant infections, performing prevention and control activities, and evaluating the effectiveness of such activities in healthcare facilities in real‐time. The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) is an important healthcare‐associated infection tracking system that utilizes data from multiple sources.

Funded and supported by CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, NHSN relies on data from healthcare facilities and provides a bridge between clinical care and public health. NHSN is used for a range of healthcare‐associated infection (HAI) surveillance purposes and the antimicrobial use (AU) and antimicrobial resistance (AR) modules help public health, healthcare stakeholders, and providers identify, prevent, and respond to AR outbreaks using data available from the unit, facility, regional, and state levels.

As such, JPHIT has released a document that highlights common barriers to healthcare facilities adopting and reporting AU/AR data to NHSN and makes three recommendations for Public Health and Informatics partners to support uptake of NHSN’s antimicrobial use and resistance modules.

Commentary: Draft Trusted Exchange and Common Agreement (TEFCA)

On February 16th, 2018, JPHIT submitted comment to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) on the draft Trusted Exchange and Common Agreement (TEFCA).  Following significant advances in the adoption and use of health information technology promoted by the HITECH Act of 2009, the TEFCA is intended to be an important step toward an interoperable health system nationwide. ONC is mandated by Congress under the 21st Century Cures Act to develop the TEFCA.

JPHIT’s commentary on the draft TEFCA covers several areas that concern public health data and information exchange within the health information ecosystem. Specifically, the following topics:

  1. The Potential of the TEFCA for Public Health
  2. A Significant Obstacle to the TEFCA Potential
  3. TEFCA Policy Issues
  4. TEFCA Standards and Scale

Overall, JPHIT believes that the TEFCA holds great potential to advance the ability of public health agencies to conduct mission-critical services with electronic health data exchanged with health care delivery systems. There are, however, ways to modify the draft TEFCA to better promote this potential for public health. Learn about these and more in the commentary available for download here.

Brief: Amici for National Association of Health Data Organizations (NAHDO)

JPHIT, along with the All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) Council, the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) and the Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO), served as amici and contributed to a brief in support of Alfred J. Gobeille, Chair of the Vermont Green Mountain Care Board, during a case versus Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. 

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Comment Letter: Protecting Student Medical Record Privacy (FERPA)

On October 2, 2015, JPHIT submitted a comment letter to the Department of Education to address a clarification in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) related to applicable federal protections for student medical record privacy. The letter urges the Department to further promote clarifications that FERPA be modified to align with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and amended to authorize schools to securely exchange student health information with public health authorities, as defined in public health law for each state, for the purposes of enduring coordinated healthcare and health protection services. Read the comment letter.

Recap: CDC's STLT Public Health Surveillance Think Tank Meeting

On October 20, 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) State, Tribal, Local and Territorial (STLT) Subcommittee convened its Public Health Surveillance Think Tank for a consensus-building meeting to drive the group's work forward. During the meeting, participants:

  • Received a CDC Update on Adopted PH Surveillance Recommendations from STLT Subcommittee
  • Explored key issues of case reporting (e.g., notifiable disease modernization efforts; electronic case reporting; data harmonization); 
  • Shared partner perspectives, concerns, and suggestions on subcomittee initiatives; and, 
  • Discussed moving forward on partner and program ideas; communication priorities, particularly with external partners; and recommendations of the STLT Subcommittee.

Check out highlights from the meeting (see page 3) and view the meeting materials, which include a JPHIT one-pager, letter to now-former CDC Director Tom Frieden to request increased CDC resources for electronic case reporting, and a topic brief on reportable disease and condition surveillance and control work that can be improved by a fully developed electronic case reporting (eCR) infrastructure. 

Response to ONC’s Request for Information Regarding Assessing Interoperability for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA)

On June 3, 2016, JPHIT submitted a response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) regarding ONC's Request for Information Regarding Assessing Interoperability for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). In the response, JPHIT indicated full support of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) adoption and continued investments in the nation’s health information technology(IT) capacity, while also establishing the importance of public health agencies in facilitating interoperability as outlined in MACRA. View the response to the RFI.

Joint Recommendations for the Public Health Infrastructure

Across the nation, public health practitioners are in the midst of revolutionary change in the abundance and availability of public health data and information. As such, JPHIT developed three recommendations for actions that public health agencies and stakeholders must take to realize the full public health potential of this data revolution and significant federal investments in HIT. TThe recommendations provide a framework for discussing the importance of, and advocating for, investment in and development and implementation of HIT. 

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Letter on eCR to CDC's Dr. Frieden

Electronic case reporting (eCR) can dramatically boost reporting and public health surveillance capabilities by automating case information submission and exchange. Using an interoperable set of information technologies, eCR can ensure critical case communications among patients, healthcare providers, public health authorities, and those at risk of illness. If fully developed and properly used, the eCR infrastructure would help state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) public health agencies to...

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Inter-Jurisdictional Health Information Exchange

As Americans become more mobile, so too must their health information. Public health agencies are increasingly called on to electronically exchange health information outside their jurisdictional borders. With differences in state privacy laws and local ordinances, such exchange frequently requires a data exchange agreement. This guidance document was developed by JPHIT to provide practical advice and information to public health managers and staff who craft such agreements.

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