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The fragmented nature of population health information is a barrier to public health practice. Despite repeated demands by policymakers, administrators, and practitioners to develop information systems that provide a coherent view of population health status, there has been limited progress toward developing such an infrastructure. We are creating an informatics platform for describing and monitoring the health status of a defined population by integrating multiple clinical and administrative data sources. This infrastructure, which involves a population health record, is designed to enable development of detailed portraits of population health, facilitate monitoring of population health indicators, enable evaluation of interventions, and provide clinicians and patients with population context to assist diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making. In addition to supporting public health professionals, clinicians, and the public, we are designing the infrastructure to provide a platform for public health informatics research. This early report presents the requirements and architecture for the infrastructure and describes the initial implementation of the population health record, focusing on indicators of chronic diseases related to obesity.
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