Health care systems in countries around the world are focused on improving the health of their populations. Many countries face common challenges related to capturing, structuring, sharing and acting upon various sources of information in service of this goal. Information science, in combination with information and communications technologies (ICT) such as online communities and cloud-based services, can be used to address many of the challenges encountered when developing initiatives to improve population health. This presentation by RTI International will focus on the development of the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange (www.phqix.org), where informatics and ICT have been used to develop new approaches to public health quality improvement; a challenge common to many nations. The presentation will also identify lessons learned from this effort and the implications for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This presentation addresses two of Qatar's Cross-cutting Research Grand Challenges; "Managing the Transition to a Diversified, Knowledge-based Society," and "Developed modernized Integrated Health Management." The first grand challenged is addressed by our research on the use of social networks and their relationship to public health practice environments. The second is addressed through our research in the development of taxonomies that align with the expectations of public health practitioners to facilitate information sharing [1]. Health care systems aim to have the most effective practices for detecting, monitoring, and responding to communicable and chronic conditions. However, national systems may fail to identify and share lessons gained through the practices of local and regional health authorities. Challenges include having appropriate mechanisms for capturing, structuring, and sharing these lessons in uniform, cost-effective ways. The presentation will explore how a public health quality improvement exchange, where practitioners submit and share best practices through an online portal, help address these challenges. This work also demonstrates the advantages of a user-centered design process to create an online resource that can successfully accelerate learning and application of quality improvement (QI) by governmental public health agencies and their partners. Public health practitioners, at the federal, state, local and tribal levels, are actively seeking to promote the use of quality improvement to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange (PHQIX) was developed to assist public health agencies and their partners in sharing their experiences with QI and to facilitate increased use of QI in public health practice. Successful online exchanges must provide compelling incentives for participation, site design that aligns with user expectations, information that is relevant to the online community and presentation that encourages use. Target audience members (beneficiaries) include public health practitioners, informatics professionals, and officials within health authorities. This discussion aims to help audience members understand how new approaches and Web-based technologies can create highly reliable and widely accessible services for critical public health capabilities including quality improvement and data sharing. 1. Pina, J., et al., Synonym-based Word Frequency Analysis to Support the Development and Presentation of a Public Health Quality Improvement Taxonomy in an Online Exchange. Stud Health Technol Inform, 2013. 192: p. 1128.


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