Washington State: The Road to Informatics Savvy

Tuesday, June 21, 2016: 2:25 PM
Tikahtnu C&F, Dena'ina Convention Center
Kim Peifer , Washington State Department of Health, Seattle, WA
Kathy Lofy , Washington State Department of Health, Shoreline, WA
Travis Kushner , WA State Department of Health, Shoreline, WA
Bryant T Karras , Washington State Department of Health, Shoreline, WA
BACKGROUND:  Washington State Department of Health (DOH) partnered with PHII to evaluate their current capabilities in public health informatics.  Using the assessment tool “Building an Informatics-Savvy Health Department”, we evaluated the agencies capabilities and constructed an operational plan.  The Washington State Informatics Roadmap (Informatics Roadmap) will guide advancement in public health informatics over the next three years.

METHODS:  Development of the Informatics Roadmap began in 2014 with agency-wide qualitative interviews by the DOH Informatics team.  DOH then partnered with PHII to evaluate current capabilities and develop a plan to advance to an informatics savvy health department.  The assessment evaluates three domains of informatics capability using the capability maturity model (a registered trademark of Carnegie Mellon University) which identifies 6 levels of maturity: 0-Absent, 1-Initial, 2-Managed, 3-Defined, 4-Measured, and 5-Optimized.

Teams of 2-6 people from 9 program areas representing the 6 agency divisions, and 3 local health jurisdictions (Whatcom County, Seattle & King County, and Spokane) completed the assessment.

The results of the assessments were synthesized to create goals to advance informatics capability.  Based on the assessment comments, objectives to achieve this improvement were drafted and presented at an in person meeting to representatives from each response group.  The objectives were then collaboratively prioritized, refined, and vetted.

RESULTS: DOH constructed an operational plan as an outcome of the drafting process.  The Informatics Roadmap includes 5 goals within the 3 domains of the assessment.  Three to seven objectives support each goal, and detail actions for achievement.

  • Vision and strategy (average capability: 1.9)
    • Analyze and disseminate data and information in a timely, ethical, open and transparent way
    • Create an Information governance framework that addresses multidisciplinary information management
  • Skilled workforce (average capability: 1.5)
    • Develop an informatics trained and/or experienced leadership workforce
  • Well designed, effectively used systems (average capability: 2.0)
    • Enable and support the development of well designed, maintained, and effectively used information systems

Improve efficiency of intra-/ inter- partner data exchange and effective use of data. 

CONCLUSIONS: The PHII tool assessed current knowledge, and identified major gaps.  Through the process of drafting an operational plan, actions and timelines needed to advance and synergize agency informatics work were defined.  Furthermore, this work is a platform for work with local health departments as partners to better understand data and information needs as each progress in their capabilities.  Effective decision making around information systems and data is feasible having established this relationship.