Today, Tarrant County Public Health's (TCPH) Health Informatics team maintains multiple surveillance systems (RODS, ESSENCE and BioSense) and uses an open source interface engine (Mirth) to help it manage a network that collects data from more than 65 hospitals in the 49 North Texas counties within the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Region 2/3. TCPH has become a leader in the field of biosurveillance. Its Health Informatics team is seen as subject matter experts. In 2012, TCPH was one of only two public health agencies chosen to consult the CDC on the rollout of BioSense 2.0, the new version of BioSense. TCPH is a national leader in implementing BioSense 2.0 and is in the first of a three-year grant to expand the capacity of BioSense 2.0. TCPH also shares lessons learned on complementary biosurveillance solutions such as ESSENCE, adding more than 30 hospitals in North Texas willing to share data -- building partnerships with Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) and exploring automated analysis of data soon to come online from HIEs that support providers seeking Meaningful Use (MU) incentives for sharing data via certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems.
The TCPH Office of Public Health Informatics is also currently engaged in a program funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to automate, streamline and enhance capacity for a primary public health prevention service – reportable disease investigation, intervention and reporting. The informatics project is innovative and unique, awarded to only two agencies in the state of Texas under an 1115 Waiver Program for Delivery Services Reform Incentive Payments (DSRIP). This project is a stepping stone to the integration of clinical practice and public health surveillance using electronic medical record systems and health information exchanges.
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