The Boston Public Health Commission currently collects a variety of healthcare data from healthcare providers in the city of Boston. This data includes Laboratory Results, Syndromic Surveillance data, as well as Health Disparities data. BPHC is in the process of building a Health Information Exchange (HIE) database, to be populated via secure, encrypted, and standardized data feeds from the hospitals and community health centers located in Boston. This data will then be analyzed and used in reports by the BPHC Research department.
The Boston Health Equity Measure Set is a set of nineteen measures related to health care quality and utilization in two priority areas, primary care and emergency care, that were derived via meetings of the Boston Health Equity Committee.
In their process of measure selection, the Committee considered the validity (i.e., soundness) and practicality (i.e., ease of data collection) of candidate measures. Whenever possible, measures were drawn from existing nationally accepted standard measures. Through input from the public review process and with expert technical assistance from the Disparities Solution Center of Massachusetts General Hospital the measure set recommended by the Health Equity Committee were revised and finalized constituting the first Boston Health Equity Measure Set (BHEMS).
BPHC collects Syndromic Surveillance data from Boston healthcare providers. These data assist in understanding how, when, and in which geographic areas of the city infectious diseases are located and spread.
Syndromic surveillance has been used for early detection of outbreaks, to follow the size, spread, and tempo of outbreaks, to monitor disease trends, and to provide reassurance that an outbreak has not occurred. Syndromic surveillance systems seek to use existing health data in real time to provide immediate analysis and feedback to those charged with investigation and follow-up of potential outbreaks.
BPHC also collects Laboratory Results. Electronic reporting of laboratory results to public health agencies can improve public health surveillance for reportable diseases and conditions by making reporting more timely and complete.