e-health=Utah Award for Excellence in Public Health Informatics

Barry Nangle, Ph.D. Director, Center for Health Data, Utah Department of Health

e-Health =Utah is Dr. Sundwall's iconic representation of a stewardship that he has decided to assume, to maintain this state's long tradition of excellence in health informatics. Dr. Sundwall believes that when he came back to work in Utah he re-entered a domain of national, even international leadership in electronic health data management, exchange and use in improving people's health. The tradition of leadership in health informatics in Utah is not at all limited to the public sector - the luminaries in this field could be found throughout the community at places like Intermountain Healthcare, BYU, the University of Utah and UHIN. But the Department of Health has been a partner in many of these endeavors, and Dr. Sundwall wants Utah to continue to be a leader in public health informatics as well.

These awards are intended to recognize and celebrate that kind of leadership. Over the past year (plus) our Office of Public HealthInformatics, directed by Dr. Wu Xu offered a series of brown-bag seminars in which one or two informatics projects was presented each month. The e-Health=Utah awards review committee, made up of representatives of the CDC sponsored Center for Excellence in Public Health Informatics here in Utah, reviewed those presentations and selected the award winners.

A list of grading criterea has been established for each presentation. At the end of the year presentations will be selected for each category to be presented with an award for excellance in public health informatics.

Click here to view past recipients

The 2012Awards and Awardees:


Award Title:  Utah Preparedness Information Systems


For Excellence in Partnership with Local Health Departments and Other States


Team Leader: Scott Munson (D.FHP/B.EMSP)

Team Members: Michelle Hale (D.FHP/B.EMSP)


Description: Utah Preparedness Information Systems contains four applications: 1) UNIS – Health Alert Network, emergency notification system; 2) Utah Responds – ESAR-VHP, volunteer registry system; 3) UHRMS – HAvBED, hospital bed availability and resource tracking, 4) U-TRAIN – Learning management system. All systems are shared and connected with federal, local and private partners.  In 2012, they led the development of an automated integration between Utah Responds and U-TRAIN.  The integration allows Utah Responds to import training course completion data of volunteers registered in both systems.  This provides local volunteer managers the ability to search for volunteers by completed training as well as manage training deficiencies.  This integration has been made available to other states that utilize these products.
This integration has been made available to other states that utilize these products.


Award Title: Electronically Collecting Student Injury Data for Safer Playgrounds and Schools


                 For Excellence in Significant Improvement in Practice


Team Leaders: Rhetta McIff (D.DCP/BHP)

Team Member: Aryavash Aryazand, Jenny Johnson, Whitney Levano, Anna Fondario


Description: Each year around 5700 students are injured severely enough in Utah to require medical care or causing them to miss school.  The Student Injury Reporting (SIR) process assists schools and districts in tracking injuries and developing improvements. However, the data collection process has been paper-based since 1982.  The Violence and Injury Prevention Program, with limited resources, developed the online Student Injury Reporting website in September 2011, and had 91% of public schools in the state of Utah utilizing the website by April 2012.  School users like the sites usability since the process is faster; edits or corrections are easier; communication can happen via email; and reports are archived in a paperless system that is accessible at all times. District officials have instant access to their districts’ reports and can review them for real-time injury information, evaluate injury causing situations, and find timely prevention strategies.


Award Title: Medicaid Meaningful Use: Hospital Attestation Data and Clinical Quality Measures


For Excellence in Supporting Health Care Providers to Improve Delivery Process


Team Leader: Charlene Frail-McGeever (D.MHF/BMHC)

Team Members: Cynthia Alexander, Amanda Hovermale, Julie Olsen, Julie Olson, James Heldt,
                      Doug Durfey, Ryan Nicol, Richard McKay & Jill Everett


Description: Utah Medicaid is the first state in Region 8 to accept the eligible providers to attest that they meet Meaningful Use requirements and received the incentive payments.  New web attestation application and new payment system were developed efficiently to support the attestation and payment efforts.  It is the first time that Medicaid received hospital clinical quality reports.  Medicaid Meaningful Use Program provides timely services to the providers and also leverages the reported quality data for overall quality improvement for the state of Utah.




Award Title: The VISION - the New WIC Information System


For Excellence in Partnership with Department of Technology Services and Vendor


Team Leader: Chris Furner, WIC Program Manager (D.FHP/BMCH)

Team Members: Grace Serna, WIC Operations and Help Desk Specialist, Angela Sorrells, IT

Project Manager,  and Phyllis Crowley, MS, RD, IBCLC 


Description: Utah WIC Program has successfully worked with Utah Department of Technology Services, a third party vendor Ciber, Inc., two other states’ WIC programs and developed/implemented the VISION system.  Benefited from the outstanding collaboration with all partners, this large multi-state IT project was implemented on time, on budget, and met the users’ requirements. The Utah WIC Program and the VISION system have won national recognition as well. 


Award Title: Redesigning Public Health Surveillance in an e-Health World


For Excellence in Innovative training or education in public health informatics


 Susan Mottice (D.DCP/B.EPI)

Description: Dr. Susan Mottice provided a provocative presentation on the changing requirement on workforce informatics competency in public health surveillance and epidemiology.  She effectively disseminated recommendations of a CDC workgroup and her own research.  She clearly described the changed public health practices in an e-health world and highlighted the need of inter disciplinary training between informatics and epidemiology for a new profession – “Infodemiology.”