Characterizing informatics roles and needs of public healthworkers: Results from the public health workforce interests and needs survey

Brian Dixon, Timothy D. McFarlane, Shandy Dearth, Shaun Grannis, P. Joseph Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To characterize public health workers who specialize in informatics and to assess informatics-related aspects of the work performed by the public health workforce. Methods (Design, Setting, Participants): Using the nationally representative Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS), we characterized and compared responses from informatics, information technology (IT), clinical and laboratory, and other public health science specialists working in state health agencies. Main Outcome Measures: Demographics, income, education, and agency size were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Weighted medians and interquartile ranges were calculated for responses pertaining to job satisfaction, workplace environment, training needs, and informatics-related competencies. Results: Of 10 246 state health workers, we identified 137 (1.3%) informatics specialists and 419 (4.1%) IT specialists. Overall, informatics specialists are younger, but share many common traits with other public health science roles, including positive attitudes toward their contributions to the mission of public health as well as job satisfaction. Informatics specialists differ demographically from IT specialists, and the 2 groups also differ with respect to salary as well as their distribution across agencies of varying size. All groups identified unmet public health and informatics competency needs, particularly limited training necessary to fully utilize technology for their work. Moreover, all groups indicated a need for greater future emphasis on leveraging electronic health information for public health functions. Conclusions: Findings from the PH WINS establish a framework and baseline measurements that can be leveraged to routinely monitor and evaluate the ineludible expansion and maturation of the public health informatics workforce and can also support assessment of the growth and evolution of informatics training needs for the broader field. Ultimately, such routine evaluations have the potential to guide local and national informatics workforce development policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S130-S140
JournalJournal of public health management and practice : JPHMP
Volume21
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Health Manpower
Informatics
Public Health
Public Health Informatics
Technology
Information Services
Job Satisfaction
Health
Surveys and Questionnaires
Policy Making
Salaries and Fringe Benefits
Workplace
Demography
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Education

Keywords

  • Information needs
  • Information systems
  • Public health informatics
  • State health agency
  • Survey research
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Characterizing informatics roles and needs of public healthworkers : Results from the public health workforce interests and needs survey. / Dixon, Brian; McFarlane, Timothy D.; Dearth, Shandy; Grannis, Shaun; Gibson, P. Joseph.

In: Journal of public health management and practice : JPHMP, Vol. 21, 2015, p. S130-S140.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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