Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health in Public Health Leadership (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Health Policy & Management (COPH)

Committee Chair

Gulzar Shah

Committee Member 1

Gregory Evans

Committee Member 2

Evans Afriyie-Gyawu

Abstract

The primary objective of this study was to assess the readiness and challenges of public health professionals in implementing the Certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) Technology for the Meaningful Use (MU) in eighteen Health Districts of Georgia. The aims were to observe the status of the public health information systems’ installation and subsequent linking of the system with the state health department, Eligible Practitioners, Eligible Hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals in relation to the EHR-MU of public health measures. The research design used for this study was Sequential Explanatory Mixed Methods, using a qualitative approach to enrich the quantitative components. A web-based survey was administered in the eighteen Health Districts of Georgia using the electronic survey software, Qualtrics. In addition to the survey, three health districts volunteered to participate in the comparative case studies. The case study guiding questions were pretested before conducting the in-depth interviews that were face to face or via telephone. These interviews were transcribed and contents were rechecked to reduce overlap and redundancy of codes. The qualitative software N-Vivo was used to code qualitative data. Health districts in Georgia are expected to receive data pertaining to the public health measures through health information exchange by the year 2014, but are facing challenges to meet the requirements of the EHR-MU. Immunization Registry (GRITS) is the only system linked to the state health department. State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SendSS) and the Electronic Lab Reporting (ELR) are still not linked for data entry directly into the systems. Bandwidth is an issue with speed of data transfers a significant concern. Health district leadership recommends that the MU would definitely make a positive impact on improving and making workflow more efficient, however, implementing MU processes is expensive and requires funding, manpower and support from the state health department and federal agencies. Leadership of public health districts is interested in the integration of disparate systems into a single EHR system because such a system would improve user satisfaction, efficacy, effectiveness, and provides information that could enhance public health.

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