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CHAMPS - Integration of Data

Informatics at CHAMPS

The role of the CHAMPS informatics team is to engineer reliable and locally sustainable methods for the collection and integration of case-specific data that is comparable across each of the CHAMPS surveillance areas.

 

While the work of informatics is often behind the scenes, it is critical for the CHAMPS Network. Ultimately, the robust data from CHAMPS sites will be shared among scientists and health officials to better inform clinical care, advocacy, research and other public health initiatives. It is the team’s vision that information from CHAMPS will be used to develop evidence-based policy, set priorities for research, and directly inform the impactful investment and provisioning of much-needed vaccines and medicines to those in need.

 

CHAMPS is unique in the scope of data that will be captured. To better understand causes of child mortality, the program will collect laboratory results, clinical information and verbal autopsy data on perinatal and under-five child deaths, as well as maternal health data if available.

 

When employed effectively, informatics transforms raw data into usable information, enabling the large-scale analyses of disease.

 

Following appropriate levels of community engagement activities for each site, the mortality protocol will begin creating a steady stream of data for analysis. Even at this early state, the informatics team has been working hard to develop detailed models and specifications to ensure standardized collection of comparable data across the initial sites. The informatics work is a huge undertaking because the systems and infrastructure of each surveillance site vary.

 

These carefully defined data elements and the rigorous application of standards are necessary to ensure that CHAMPS will facilitate the collection of consistent, high-quality data across a distributed network of surveillance sites. The team is building information flow models and developing detailed data specifications to support CHAMPS sites. The models and specifications illustrate and define how information is captured and shared both at the local level and to the CHAMPS program office in Atlanta.  

A team in Manhica, Mozambique reviews a dataflow diagram

 

Planning begins with a visit to the site to walk through the mortality protocol processes and data flow documentation. The objective of this documentation is to reach a shared understanding of site implementation specifics with regard to workflow, procedures, systems, and staff. This collaborative process helps the informatics team work with sites to leverage their strongest technical capabilities, and identify potential gaps where the team can help develop and implement solutions.

Informaticians are the knowledge architects of public health.  Public health informatics is a field that designs the blueprints for the complex data systems that keep information secure, usable and responsive to public health’s needs.

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