Improving Public and Population Health Outcomes

Electronic health records (EHRs) can improve public and population health outcomes. By efficiently collecting data in a form that can be shared across multiple health care organizations and leveraged for quality improvement and prevention activities, EHRs can:

  • Improve public health reporting and surveillance. By making it easier for your organization to collect standardized, systematic data, EHRs will improve your reporting capabilities.
    • Through syndromic surveillance data submission, immunization registries, and electronic laboratory reporting, providers can transmit public and population health data to public health officials.
    • With more and better data available, public health organizations can better monitor, prevent, and manage disease. In New York City, for example, public health officials designed a program that leverages EHRs to deploy public health alerts to clinicians.1
  • Better your organization’s ability to prevent disease. With electronic health information about the entire population of patients you serve, you can look more meaningfully at the needs of patients and offer better health care. EHRs can remind providers when patients need immunizations,2 enable providers to send reminders to patients for preventive/follow-up care, and give providers access to clinical protocols.
  • Expand communication between health care providers and public health officials. By meaningfully using EHRs, your organization can expand its communication and collaboration with public health officials.

Meaningful Use – Improving Population & Public Health

One of the best ways to leverage the benefits of electronic health records to improve population and public health is to achieve meaningful use. As part of the Improve Public & Population Health domain, Stage 1 meaningful use requires to providers to submit electronic data to immunization registries and submit electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies. By achieving meaningful use, you can leverage the benefits of electronic health records to improve public and population health.

For More Information

For more information the benefits of electronic health records and how EHRs can help to improve public and population health outcomes, see the following resources.


  1. Lurio J, Morrison FP, Pichardo M, Berg R, Buck MD, Wu W, Kitson K, Mostashari F, Calman N. “Using electronic health record alerts to provide public health situational awareness to clinicians.” J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2010.
  2. Fiks AG, Grundmeir RW, Biggs LM, Locallo R, Alessandrini EA. "Impact of clinical alerts within an electronic health record on routine childhood immunization in an urban pediatric population", Pediatrics. 2007