SSG Blog

How to Choose the Right Public Health Software

Posted on November 13th, 2023   |   SSG

Public health departments use software to collect, analyze, and act on patient health data, which increases communication and efficiency. Officials should select a solution configurable to their needs with quality user support, built-in security, and scalable features. Casetivity, SSG’s public health software, can be configured for any public health use case, including disease surveillance, blood lead testing, and consumer vaccine information.

Selecting the right public health software is often the first step toward connecting various stakeholders and medical professionals on the state or local level. These programs increase efficiency with real-time communication, automatic data collection, and improved visibility at every stage of the process.

As of 2021, 96% of all non-federal acute care hospitals and nearly 80% of office-based physicians used electronic health records (EHR) systems to manage and collect patient data, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), but interoperability issues remain. 

The latest public health software makes it easier for medical offices and groups to send and receive data with local health authorities. 

The market for health software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs has increased dramatically over the last few years as more organizations realize the benefits of this technology. The vast number of vendors and applications can complicate the selection process, with numerous features and benefits to choose from. Finding the right program depends on what the department wants to achieve. 

How is software used in public health? 

Public health departments use this software to collect patient and population-specific health data from providers and organizations in the community and help manage cases and outreach. The information is then analyzed to identify emerging trends and how they affect various groups. The findings inform the agency’s policies and guidelines on preventing the spread of illness and disease to improve health outcomes. 

What factors should I consider when choosing public health software?

Many tools are used to complete similar tasks, but they contain different features and potential uses that can affect efficiency and visibility down the line. 

The following factors should be top of mind when selecting a public health software program.

  • Scalability

Health officials will be asked to collect and analyze more patient data as new surveillance and data collection methods come online. The program should scale seamlessly with the department’s current operations without increasing the burden placed on staff. 

  • Configurability

Reporting requirements are bound to change. New infectious diseases and trends will also shift the department’s focus. The software interface should be easy to reconfigure based on what information needs to be collected. 

  • Total cost of ownership

The price of the software may be a fraction of the total cost of ownership. The department should consider all the costs associated with using the program, including staff training, provider and other user onboarding, potential IT costs, license renewals, and the potential cost-saving benefits once the tool is up and running.

  • Features/functions

The program may contain many features, but the department should only focus on the functionalities it needs. It should handle the entire data collection process so staffers can access all necessary tools using a single interface. Workers should be able to review and request data while interacting with stakeholders in real-time. The program should import all data types, including lab reports, case notes, and demographic information while flagging duplicates and missing fields for user review.

  • Support

The software vendor should offer online or over-the-phone assistance to answer the department’s questions if they run into issues with the program. Users should be able to reach a knowledgeable IT expert quickly to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

  • Ease of use

It should feature an intuitive, user-friendly interface that makes it easy for stakeholders to upload the necessary information. The department should be able to track the authorization status of organizations and providers looking to join the network. The program must also accommodate the needs of diverse populations with instructions in multiple languages. 

  • Architecture

The software architecture should follow a logical, top-down design that makes it easy to adjust the interface. Low-code programs come with drag-and-drop menus to help non-IT professionals quickly implement changes without redesigning the entire application. 

  • Security

All personal health information must be protected according to state and federal laws. The program should automatically encrypt data while preventing unauthorized user access to ensure compliance. 

Are SSG’s software solutions adaptable to different healthcare use cases?

Yes, you can use the Casetivity platform to configure solutions for any public health use case. We already have solutions configured for the following use cases: 

  • Disease surveillance
  • Early Intervention Part C
  • ELR (data exchange ETL and routing)
  • Onboarding and public health CRM solutions
  • Blood lead poisoning surveillance
  • Family Health
  • Immunization
  • Master patient index and deduplication
  • Consumer access to vaccines
  • Licensing, training, and eligibility
  • Ambulance service infection control and ERP system
  • Environmental case management
  • Casework and social work case management
  • Data integration and processing
  • Small application rationalization and consolidation

How can SSG’s software solutions enhance your public health program?

The Casetivity platform will automate end-to-end data collection to save time and reduce errors. Workers can spend more time analyzing the results and resolving cases by not having to enter information by hand. This frees up additional resources to help the agency reach its objectives and better serve the public.

It utilizes open APIs for data exchange and also works with all file types for ingestion to prevent data from being siloed and used to its full potential. Increased interoperability minimizes the risk of essential details slipping through the cracks to ensure that every patient enters the department’s database. 

The more accurate the data, the better the department will be able to serve the community. Increased demographic information can be used to combat health inequities among different groups so everyone can access the care they need.

Public health software improves data collection and stakeholder communication. Department officials need a reliable tool to meet tomorrow’s challenges and keep up with the latest changes. 

Contact SSG to view our Casetivity video and request a demo of our public health software.