Submission Type



public health informatics, information infrastructure, collaborative approaches, aspirational futures approach


Background: In October 2013, the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) and Institute for Alternative Futures (IAF) convened a multidisciplinary group of experts to evaluate forces shaping public health informatics (PHI) in the United States, with the aim of identifying upcoming challenges and opportunities. The PHI workshop was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its larger strategic planning process for public health and primary care.

Workshop Context: During the two-day workshop, nine experts from the public and private sectors analyzed and discussed the implications of four scenarios regarding the United States economy, health care system, information technology (IT) sector, and their potential impacts on public health in the next 10 years, by 2023.Workshop participants considered the potential role of the public health sector in addressing population health challenges in each scenario, and then identified specific informatics goals and strategies needed for the sector to succeed in this role.

Recommendations and Conclusion: Participants developed recommendations for the public health informatics field and for public health overall in the coming decade. These included the need to rely more heavily on intersectoral collaborations across public and private sectors, to improve data infrastructure and workforce capacity at all levels of the public health enterprise, to expand the evidence base regarding effectiveness of informatics-based public health initiatives, and to communicate strategically with elected officials and other key stakeholders regarding the potential for informatics-based solutions to have an impact on population health.

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