Public Health Laboratory Interoperability Project (PHLIP)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Project Overview
This large multi-year project developed an interoperable electronic data exchange architecture for public health laboratories. It used federal standards and regulations that included data standards development, Health IT, public health informatics, health information exchanges, and privacy assessment & monitoring. The project included stakeholders from multiple organizations including the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), state public health laboratories and multiple teams across the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The Challenge
The resources assigned to the project were located throughout the United States and reported up through several different organizations. This presented unique project management challenges and required the development of electronic tools to support such a distributed team.

Since the project’s team members belonged to multiple different organizations, it was critical that the project be managed as a collaborative effort as opposed to one of traditional command and control.

The Solution
The St. John Group provided the overall technical management of the effort. We worked with the various team leads and project managers to develop an integrated, overall project plan. We facilitated multiple face-to-face joint application design (JAD) sessions to define project goals, scope, risks, and an overall roadmap. Additionally, we continue to facilitate weekly conference calls to track project status.

Our staff also participates on the project’s steering committee to provide status reports and escalate issues directly to senior executives. On multiple occasions, we were asked to negotiate collaborative solutions that were acceptable to all involved.

The Results
This project is the first tangible effort by state public health laboratories to implement standards-based electronic laboratory data exchange with the CDC. It began as a pilot project to develop the framework and architecture. With the success of the pilot, the decision was made to expand the framework and architecture to support laboratory data exchange throughout the United States. Today, the PHLIP framework is a key component for providing daily, standardized, sample-level laboratory data for H1N1 surveillance. The St. John Group is currently working with most of the state public health laboratories in the United States to implement the PHLIP framework.

Our efforts are on time and on budget.

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