Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Innovations in Monitoring Population Health Using Electronic Health Records

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

May 29, 2012








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.

The Query Health Initiative validated whether EHRs are an accurate substitute for expensive endeavors such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and explored alternative uses of information technology to improve health. The Initiative developed EHR indicators for monitoring population health and standardized protocols for calculating indicators, such as collecting summary counts of patients with diabetes receiving different kinds of care from each participating RHIO; evaluating the validity and reliability of EHR indicators for population health; recommending best practices for other jurisdictions seeking to use EHRs for population health surveillance; and comparing the health of New Yorkers in 2004 and 2013 and evaluating major citywide initiatives launched during that period.