HIMSS announces two Davies finalists
The Florida Department of Health and the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene are finalists for the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Public Health Davies Award for epidemiological surveillance and an EHR network for underserved populations, respectively.

The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, Florida (ESSENCE-FL), is used daily by state and county-level epidemiologists for surveillance of more than 18 million residents and the more than 80 million tourists who visit the state each year. ESSENCE-FL was implemented to meet a diverse set of public health challenges with a system that epidemiologists could use without specialized training to make decisions and conduct analyses for outbreak detection and other conditions under surveillance.

The Florida Department of Health, Division of Disease Control, Bureau of Epidemiology, Acute Disease Epidemiology Section manages the ESSENCE-FL system.

The Primary Care Information Project (PCIP), a bureau of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, seeks to improve the quality of care in underserved communities through health IT. PCIP has extended prevention-oriented EHRs to more than 2,500 primary care providers working in underserved settings. The virtually integrated PCIP includes 471 independent small practices, 34 community health centers and four hospitals. Collectively, these practices serve nearly 2 million patients in New York City; about one quarter of the city's population.

By leveraging data derived from this EHR network, Primary Care Information Project allows the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to conduct programs in a more strategic, data-driven manner, HIMSS stated.

Fourteen public health systems have received the HIMSS Public Health Davies Award of Excellence, introduced in 2004, the Chicago-based organization added.