TORCH
TORCH FOUNDATIONTORCH MANAGEMENT SERVICES
About Us Membership IT Services Grant Resource Stimulus Education ICD 10 Sponsorship

Public Health Information Network (PHIN)

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Information Network (PHIN) - Overview

PHIN Summary:
The Public Health Information Network (PHIN) is purposed to advance a fully capable and interoperable information system for public health. PHIN encompasses the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) for electronic disease surveillance, detection and reporting and the Health Alert Network (HAN) system to rapidly notify health partners with health and medical response information relevant to public health threats and emergencies.

PHIN Components:
The PHIN syustem is capable of rapidly notifying key response personnel from around the state using voice, email and fax to provide health specific treatment and response data regarding public health threats and emergencies. PHIN proivides a secure patheway for electronic disease reporting for the NEDSS Base System (NBS) and syndromic surveillance data. PHIN is interconnected with the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH), and Texas Association of Local Health Officials (TALHO), and Texas Association of Community Health Centers (TACHC). All public health offices in the state are connected to the PHIN.

In addition to the alerting and disease reporting capabilities, the PHIN portal provides access to the following applications used in the Texas public health and medical community:

  • Traction (Knowledge Management System)
  • EMResource (Hospital Resource Status and Diversion)
  • WebEOC (Crisis Management System)
  • New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)
  • Texas Inventory Management System (TIMS for Strategic National Stockpile Inventory Control)
  • TRAIN (Learning Mangement System)

PHIN Training:
HAN Training:
The Health Alert Network (HAN) functions as the Texas PHIN's Health Alert component. Available in both video and print format, this tutorial teaches registered PHIN users how to access the HAN. Throughout this tutorial, users will learn how to register their devices (email, phone, SMS/blackberry, fax) to receive alerts, as well as gain a general understanding of how to view alerts from both the PHIN Dashboard and registered devices. Those users who have been grated the "Health Alert and Communications Coordinator in Texas" role will be guided through the process of creating, submitting, editing and cancelling alerts.

Registering and Navigating the PHIN:
The tutorial titled "Registering and Navigating The PHIN" provides an overview of the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) and instructs both first-time and previously registered users on how to gain access to the new and improved portal. Available in both video and print format, this tutorial has been designed to walk users through account set-up and profile maintenance, the functionality of the PHIN Dashboard and "Mini-App" tabs, and the PHIN directory.

Both of the above are available under Recorded Sessions.


Useful Links:
Staying current on public health emergency information, tools and resources is critical for the development of effective response plans and to increase overall preparedness, including detection, surveillance, management, reporting and response. Please refer to the following links for important up-to-date information and webinars on public health and PHIN-related topics.

  • For information on the Public Health Information Network (PHIN) - Disease Surveillance and Disease Reporting, click here.
  • To access webinars that provide education and address public health and PHIN-related topics, click here.


PHIN Administrator Training:
Each TORCH hospital can assign some employees to have administrative oversight for PHIN in their area. The PHIN in Texas has many features and functions that can have significant impact on public health information dissemination, as well as public health and medical personnel who use the PHIN in their daily work. Therefore, PHIN Administrators are trained by DSHS staff on teh following features and processes offered through the PHIN portal:

  • Health Alert processes and sending Alerts withthe PHIN Portal
  • Call-Down processes and using the PHIN Portal to activate Call-Downs
  • Creating and using distribution lists
  • Recruiting new users to PHIN
  • Assisting Users with access issues
  • Training/familiaring new users with the PHIN portal
  • Using Document Sharing for file storage and transfer
  • Using Secured Folders for protected information
  • Conducting Quarterly Tests for notification accuracy
  • Assessing other PHIN applications through the Portal
  • Using the PHIN effectively through compliance with the PHIN Policies and Procedures
  • Becoming certified as a PHIN Administrator

PHIN User Training:
Although Users are not required to attend training it can be very helpful. Training is offered via a webinar format and requires approximately one hour to complete. DSHS PHIN staff will train Users to understand and use the features and processess listed above.