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April 28, 1993

'CDC WONDER' Computer Use Revolutionizes Acquiring, Applying Reams of Public Health Data

JAMA. 1993;269(16):2063. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500160025008

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A REVOLUTION is under way in acquiring, analyzing, and using data of public health significance. Computerized systems are being developed that incorporate public health principles into clinical medicine.

Says Andrew Friede, MD, MPH, chief, Public Health Information Systems Branch, Information Resources Management Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Ga: "The world is changing. Today we need accurate and timely information, not just data, to make decisions affecting the public health."

The focus, Friede told members of the American Public Health Association during their annual meeting in Washington, DC, is "on speeding and simplifying hypotheses about the distribution and determinants of diseases in populations into usable information in ways that will support public health practice." Ultimately, he says, "as these improved computerized data and information systems come into operation they should lead to new ways of thinking and practicing public health."

Real-Time Epidemiology  Not that there is anything