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A Statewide Solution for Environmental Health Data

December 13, 2013

Orginally published Jan. 17, 2012

Over the past five years, the Environmental Health program (EH) of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and environmental health staff in every county have been making steady progress to implement a statewide solution for data recording, reporting, and analysis needs, known as the Environmental Health Information System (EHIS). EH’s progress to date could not have happened without the active cooperation and dedication provided by the Environmental Health Specialists, administrative support staff, and their respective managers across Georgia. Their actions provided the momentum needed to drive this project.

Currently, the state-managed EHIS provides for the essential data management needs for most of the state with 131 counties using the state-managed EHIS .Locally-managed systems are in use in the other counties. Eventually, these local systems will provide data to populate the state EHIS to allow a complete picture of Georgia’s environmental public health. This is in concert with the Information Services project and the DPH data vision. This vision is to ensure that DPH data is administered locally, tracked globally and shared appropriately.

DPH Environmental Health is beginning to work with the local EHIS operators to build the needed data feeds that allow population of the reports within the state system. EH has trained over 700 county, district and state employees and continues to provide introductory classes to new environmental health specialists.

More training is in development for managers to support all the capabilities provided by the data in the EHIS. Additionally, EH has provided every district with a training manual for Microsoft Office 2007. Since all fields of any records in the system can be exported to Excel, managers will need to be experts in Excel to compile reports and perform analysis. This capability will help identify the best practices and opportunities for improvements.