When it comes to data, many public health departments confine themselves to tracking illness outbreaks and the like, and any efforts to improve population health are often based on gut feelings. But New York City is aggregating data from hundreds of physician office electronic health records systems and feeding it back to the providers in the form of comparative reports that aimed at improving care.

The Primary Care Information Project of the New York City Department of Health, begun in 2004, won a HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence last year for its efforts. The project has collected EHR data on nearly 2 million patients so far, and is shooting for 3 million by the end of the year.

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