Pandemic–The Role of the Electronic Sharing of Public Health Data, Public Health Data Science, and Public Health Action

Gregory Fant*

Pandemic–The Role of the Electronic Sharing of Public Health Data, Public Health Data Science, and Public Health Action.

Mortality (death) and morbidity (incidence) statistics are useful public health data for public health planning and public health decision-making. The data reported by the WHO remind me of the importance of good, quality public health data, especially the electronic collection, transfer, and analysis of data for public health action during a pandemic.

The journal offered early perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic.1,2 The pandemic continues. The weekly epidemiological update from the World Health Organization summarized the COVID-19 pandemic for the previous week3.

The electronic collection and transfer of public health data is common. Health Information Exchange is defined as the electronic transfer of clinical and/or administrative information
across diverse and sometimes competing healthcare settings. There are four types of Health Information Exchanges (HIE): Private HIEs; Government-facilitated HIEs; Community-based
HIEs; and Vender-facilitated HIEs. Successful Health Information Exchanges have two, broad components: social and political component (including collaboration and addressing key ethical principles of privacy, confidentiality, and security); technical component. Ineffective workings of the social-political component with technical component may contribute to a less than optimal exchange of health information especially during an outbreak when these data are most important.

Societies across the world wait for the successful end of the current pandemic. When the public health emergency is over, political and public health leaders may need to re-examine many issues of population health including universal healthcare coverage, public health resources, and public health surveillance—including topics related to health information exchange and the application
of public health data science for quality and timely public health data analyses designed to inform global public health action, especially during a pandemic.

Public Health Open J. 2020; 5(3): 73-74. doi: 10.17140/PHOJ-5-151