ONC launched its Query Health initiative officially on September 5, 2011. Query Health is a public-private collaboration chartered to establish standards and services for distributed population queries of electronic health records. ONC is seeking active participation from interested and engaged parties who have an interest in helping create these standards and services.
The focus of our nation's health care system is to improve the health of individuals and ultimately the health of the population as a whole. In order to positively impact population health, we need to be able to evaluate and react to emerging health issues and trends. In recent years, the use of distributed queries has become a growing focus of health information technology. With this approach, data are shared in aggregate and without identifying individual information, thus maintaining patient privacy and security while allowing valuable health information to be collected for analysis. This means that health care providers have an increased ability to proactively respond to disease outbreaks, understand the efficacy of drug treatments, and monitor health trends. This ability to understand large-scale health trends can contribute to reducing the cost of health care and most importantly, improving the health of our citizens.
Establishing standards and services for distributed population queries can increase the speed and lower the transaction costs for health care providers to analyze and apply important information. In this way, providers, consumers, researchers, and others can gain insight into many health issues including:
• Prevention activities – Caregivers could have access to a larger pool of data that will enable them to prioritize prevention procedures, such as administration of flu vaccines for vulnerable populations.
• Health care research – Researchers and providers could compare the effectiveness of different treatments and medications in the treatment of high cholesterol and other long–term health conditions.
• Disease outbreaks – Health care providers could monitor outbreaks of specific illnesses, such as the H1N1 virus, which spread across the nation a couple of years ago.
To learn more about Query Health, visit www.QueryHealth.org.
Source: ONC News Release