Using Informatics to Improve EH Practice

Learn about our efforts to improve environmental health (EH) practice through modernizing EH data.

Coworkers working with analytics looking over documents and laptop.

EH programs collect data from inspections and other sources but might not always analyze it for trends or use it to inform timely public health decision-making. Standardizing how data are collected, shared, and used can support innovative approaches to improving EH practice.

CDC is working to

  • Promote timely sharing of information to detect and address EH hazards.
  • Support best practices for using existing data and information to design public health interventions.
  • Identify indicators for the impact of EH services on public health and the environment.
Modernizing EH Data

CDC has begun a public health Data Modernization Initiative to create connected, resilient, adaptable, and sustainable data systems that can help produce solutions before problems occur and limit negative effects caused by problems that do occur. CDC’s Water, Food, and Environmental Health Services Branch and Environmental Public Health Tracking Program are working together to enhance and expand environmental health data modernization efforts across the country.

Leveraging Data to Improve Inspections

CDC worked with the Public Health Informatics Institute on a project to leverage informatics to improve food service establishment and aquatic facility inspections. Representatives from three state agencies (Georgia Department of Public Health, Maryland Department of Health, and Virginia Department of Health) and two local agencies (Southern Nevada Health District and Riverside County Department of Public Health) participated in key informant interviews.

Results from these interviews highlighted common factors and challenges in food and recreational water inspections. In addition to the interviews, the key informants participated in a two-day business process analysis workshop. These activities informed key business processes and provided insight for possible recommendations on key practices for standardizing data.

Partnering to Advance Informatics in EH

CDC worked with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) to design an open data standard to improve health and safety in aquatic facilities. The project focuses on building the capacity of EH programs to conduct effective inspections and use the data they collect. Several EH programs are trying the standard in their jurisdiction to help identify best practices for data reporting.

Our Environmental Health Capacity program helps health department EH programs improve their capacity. All recipients have projects on building capacity to use existing data or to collect new EH data with a focus on

  • Identifying, characterizing, and mitigating EH hazards.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness and impact of EH interventions.
More Information