Connecting and sharing health information
The Public Health Information Network (PHIN) is modern information technology connecting local, state and national partners for emergency response and daily public health activities. Electronic reporting by health providers and labs allow public health officials to identify diseases and environmental events earlier. Sophisticated information systems and communications tools help diverse public and private partners respond more effectively to a hazardous spill or an outbreak of food poisoning or a bioterrorist attack. Quick and well-coordinated responses will save lives and reduce the impact of adverse events affecting Wisconsin's population. The federal government is promoting this vision of PHIN through grants and by setting standards to ensure the many parts of this national network fit well together. Wisconsin, like all other states, is building our part of PHIN, customized for our strengths and needs.
What the future holds
The foundation of the Wisconsin PHIN provides multiple secure ways of rapidly communicating between public and private public health partners. A statewide disease and environmental disease surveillance system that provides rapid reporting and supports local public health response is another component. Electronic reporting from all laboratories is another. Sophisticated web-based tools for authorized public, private, and academic partners to analyze these (and other public health) data will be yet another component. Providing better connections between existing public health information systems to provide composite views where appropriate and avoid redundant information collection is another goal of the PHIN.