ABSTRACT: Towards public health decision support: a systematic review of bidirectional communication approaches
Objective To summarize the literature describing computer-based interventions aimed at improving bidirectional communication between clinical and public health.
Materials and Methods A systematic review of English articles using MEDLINE and Google Scholar. Search terms included public health, epidemiology, electronic health records, decision support, expert systems, and decision-making. Only articles that described the communication of information regarding emerging health threats from public health agencies to clinicians or provider organizations were included. Each article was independently reviewed by two authors.
Results Ten peer-reviewed articles highlight a nascent but promising area of research and practice related to alerting clinicians about emerging threats. Current literature suggests that additional research and development in bidirectional communication infrastructure should focus on defining a coherent architecture, improving interoperability, establishing clear governance, and creating usable systems that will effectively deliver targeted, specific information to clinicians in support of patient and population decision-making.
Conclusions Increasingly available clinical information systems make it possible to deliver timely, relevant knowledge to frontline clinicians in support of population health. Future work should focus on developing a flexible, interoperable infrastructure for bidirectional communications capable of integrating public health knowledge into clinical systems and workflows.