The vision of the Digital Bridge is to ensure our nation’s health through a bidirectional information flow between health care and public health.
What is the Digital Bridge?
A first of its kind partnership, the Digital Bridge ensures the health of our nation by establishing effective bidirectional data exchange between health care and public health. It creates a forum for key stakeholders in health care, public health and health IT to discuss the challenges of information sharing and implement multi-jurisdictional solutions. Through this collaboration, the Digital Bride fosters a better connection between health care and public health, a relationship that is integral to efficient public health surveillance.
As its first project, the Digital Bridge collaborative has designed a multi-jurisdictional approach to electronic case reporting (eCR). eCR is a valuable tool that reduces the burden of public health reporting of infectious diseases, while improving the timeliness, accuracy and completeness of the data. Early detection of cases allows for earlier intervention, diminished transmission of disease and improved detection of outbreaks.
The approach for this project is based on public-private partnership motivated by mutually beneficial outcomes. These outcomes include improved data for public health and clinical practice and lower costs for information sharing.
Benefits of the Digital Bridge
- Eases the burden and costs for all stakeholder groups through a unified approach to information exchange.
- Advances greater standards-based information exchange across public health and health care.
- Lays the foundation for greater bidirectional exchange of data so that clinicians can be more informed about population health, environmental risks and outbreaks.
Governance and Workgroups
A governance body formed in fall 2016 with equal representation from public health, health care delivery systems and health information technology. Workgroups focus on specific issues and report up to the governance body. They seek input from existing eCR and other health data interoperability efforts.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the deBeaumont Foundation support the governance of the Digital Bridge, and Dr. John Lumpkin serves as chair of the governance body. Deloitte Consulting and the Public Health Informatics Institute provide program support.
Representatives from each sector have made these commitments to the Digital Bridge initiative:
- Public health agreed to “speak with one voice”: public health programs should standardize on an electronic case report and not pursue different approaches based on individual diseases or jurisdictions.
- The health care delivery systems agreed to be initial production sites for the implementation efforts.
- The health IT vendors agreed to collaborate and build technical infrastructure for the transmission of electronic case reporting.
Governance Body Org Chart
*Charlie Ishikawa of Ishikawa & Associates provides governance support for the Digital Bridge as the governance body coordinator.
eCR Implementation Sites
The Digital Bridge collaborative has designed a multi-jurisdictional approach to electronic case reporting and has begun implementations across different states and cities. The sites will be used to test the Digital Bridge technical infrastructure in a phased roll-out through 2018. California, Houston, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York City and Utah have been selected as implementation sites. Each site includes a public health agency, a health care provider and data provider/EHR vendor. They will support five conditions initially: pertussis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, salmonellosis, and Zika.