Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Fund for Public Health in New York

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

August 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

May 2012 – December 2013

In 2009, Congress authorized more than $30 billion in spending to stimulate the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs), which has led to an increase in EHR adoption across the country.

EHRs have been used primarily to improve the delivery and quality of health care services and to reduce spending. However, they also have the potential to contribute real-time information about population health because they provide access to large volumes of standardized health data. In 2012, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded a grant to the Fund for Public Health in New York (FPHNY), on behalf of its implementing program partner New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), to research and disseminate findings pertaining to the development of an EHR-based population health surveillance system.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Developed a paper synthesizing literature on population surveillance and EHR use, “Public Health Surveillance Using Electronic Health Records: A Systematic Review,” which was submitted to the peer review literature;
  • Produced a planning document, “Developing an Electronic Health Record-Based Population Health Surveillance System,” that expanded on the systematic review paper, which is posted on the NYCDOHMH’s website and was disseminated to more than 300 key stakeholders, including government officials, researchers, and health IT media. It currently is being used to design New York City’s first EHR-based surveillance system; and
  • Developed a survey for NYC HANES 2013, a gold standard population-based examination survey; the survey was tested with a sample of New York City residents and refined.