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medical informatics, parents, pediatrics, primary care, public health



  1. Williams, Scott D. MD, MPH
  2. Hollinshead, William MD, MPH


The efforts of families, health care providers, and public health programs to optimize health care and health outcomes for children are often limited by the lack of timely, complete, and accurate health information. Families frequently serve as the messenger between providers in providing clinical details that they may not understand, because the paper record of previous care is unavailable. Providers believe in the value of good information, but haven't the time, training, or financial resources to create better data sharing methods. Public health programs often must rely on unacceptably slow, redundant, or otherwise limited data collection efforts to provide population-based assessments of child health problems that inform public policy and program development. Integrated child health information systems allow the appropriate, secure sharing of health data that are critical to improving these processes. Developing such systems will require a strong commitment from these 3 stakeholder groups and attention to human values as well as technical challenges.