APHL and CDC are excited to introduce the LEI Informatics Self-Assessment (SA) Tool to the LEI and Public Health community. This tool is scheduled for release in early June 2013 and is created for public health laboratories (PHLs). The tool is the first initiative that has sought to measure overall informatics capabilities in PHLs. The tool gives PHL professionals the ability to identify and plan for their required informatics capabilities, prioritize the use of existing resources, document and communicate these priorities to policy makers and monitor current informatics capabilities on an on-going basis.
The tool had its genesis in a meeting convened by APHL and LSPPPO in December 2011 with the purpose of identifying strategies to improve PHL informatics capabilities nationally as a part of LEI. The development of this self-assessment tool involved participation and guidance from APHL and CDC staff and technical consultants, PHL directors, senior staff and informatics experts and APHL members over a period of several months. During the course of its development, the tool underwent four reviews by the subject matter expert group, a formal technical review by 3 PHLs and a beta test by 4 PHLs.
The tool is organized into 19 Capability Areas (CAs). Collectively, the CAs represent the principal laboratory functions that an information system supports. To complete the self-assessment, users record answers associated with each capability statement, ranking their laboratory’s capabilities based on those that are currently present and in use in the laboratory. At the end of each Capability area, the tool calculates a total and a percentage grade. The percentage or numeric score is not indicative of a “Pass” or “Fail” determination. As the priorities and business needs of laboratories vary, the percentage grade can help identify the areas on which to focus attention.
The tool can help accomplish three broad objectives. First, PHLs can establish a baseline of their current informatics capabilities by completing the assessment. Second, PHLs can measure the maturity of their informatics capabilities against desired levels. Third, PHLs can adopt a step wise approach to reaching the informatics benchmarks. Use of the tool will help PHLs identify gaps in their capabilities and provide them with guidance on steps they can take to achieve the desired standard.
The tool also helps to ensure a common understanding of informatics processes and efficiencies in PHLs. PHLs can use assessment results to prioritize upgrades to their existing capabilities. Assessment findings can also be used to develop and inform policies within the laboratory, as well as with external partners. Laboratories can repeat the assessment at their desired intervals to identify trends in capabilities and use this reevaluation to guide the direction of future enhancements to their capabilities.
Access the Informatics Self-Assessment Tool Here