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While information technology has proliferated and advanced dramatically in the last 10 years, the application of information technology to health care policy and delivery has not been well coordinated either among public health agencies or between the public and private health sectors. In 1998, the Genetic Services Branch, Division of Services for Children with Special Health Needs, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA/MCHB) began an initiative to help facilitate assessment and prompt provision of appropriate services to improve the health of children. Twenty-five state public health programs received grants to improve integration of newborn screening and genetic services systems with other maternal and child health systems. All Kids Count-a program of the Public Health Informatics Institute-completed a qualitative assessment of state programs that were funded to develop plans for integration. The results are being translated into a business/policy case addressing the need for integration, a description of essential functions that such systems support, ultimately system requirements, and measures for evaluation. HRSA/MCHB's partnership with All Kids Count continues with a project to develop a community of practice to assist programs in moving their integrated child health information systems forward.
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