The Public Health Data Standards Consortium, which advocates new data and integration standards to support population health management and meet the data needs of public health agencies, is becoming part of the American Health Information Management Association.

PHDSC’s assets and intellectual property will be transferred to the AHIMA foundation and used to support research and education initiatives related to public health and data standards, according to the associations. Anna Orlova, PhD, executive director of PHDSC and a visiting associate professor at the Division of Health Sciences Informatics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, will lead the group within AHIMA.

AHIMA proposed the alliance and the more PHDSC members looked at the idea the more sense it made, says Marjorie Greenberg, former chief of classifications and public health data standards at the National Center for Health Statistics and chair of a PHDSC group created to oversee the transition.

Both organizations understand that public health informatics and traditional health informatics must grow closer together to align public health needs with overall healthcare needs, Greenberg explains. PHDSC was looking for improved sustainability and new resources to grow, and AHIMA, which is getting deeper into informatics, was looking for new partners and expertise.

Greenberg also sees new opportunities to increase the influence of public health informatics, such as getting public health content into AHIMA educational materials. Cooperation at local levels between public health agencies and healthcare organizations also could help the agencies better support meaningful use requirements, she adds. “I can see linkages at the local level between HIM and public health to accelerate data exchange.”

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