Chapter 1: The Importance of Epidemiology



Most of us do not know a lot about what the term epidemiology means or how far reaching it is. When news focuses on new illnesses, infections, or unidentified causes for outbreaks, we start to remember what we have read, experienced, or heard about from other sources.  A frame of reference is the evolving mutation of COVID we see throughout the world.  Other diseases we thought were eradicated are showing up sporadically such as Polio, Measles and even Chickenpox.  At one point, the World Health Organization (WHO) thought Ebola was stopped, yet it continues to resurface.

Tracking is critical to identifying infections, pandemics, epidemics, endemic illnesses, and even local transmission of illnesses to protect populations by studying and taking measures to reduce spread of diseases that then mutate to more virulent forms.

How do we track, collect data, communicate, manage, and make decisions to respond?

We generally do not associate informatics, interprofessional education and practice , and systems thinking  with each other, yet all are closely intertwined in digital information. This chapter will discuss the importance of this as crucial to collaboration and effective engagement across disciplines.

Learning Objectives for This Chapter

  • Recognize, access, and interact with informatics tools that are data driven.
  • Conceptualize ways in which informatics tools make a difference in educating patients, community, and to prepare for community acquired diseases or infections from a systems approach.
  • Explore the roles and communication methods of an interprofessional team.


Activity 1


Watch the video below.

After watching the video, review the PowerPoint slides provided below the video.


Epdemiology PPTX

Once you have reviewed the slides, you can fill in the blanks in the statements below.


Activity 2


Click on the images for the two Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) maps and case counts. One is global and the other focuses on the U.S. Once you have explored the maps, work through the “Mpox Prevention & Control Tool” found below.













The following are two images with COVID-19 data. The first image provides COVID-19 data in 2022.

This image is from July 2023, reported by the World Health Organization.


Activity 3

Interprofessional Teams

Explore the activities section of the World Health Professions Alliance  (WHPA) website  to see who makes up the interprofessional team and its importance.


What are the levels of providers in our workforce?


Activity 4

Communication & Interprofessional Teams

WHO employs a logic model or frame for the ways it communicates.  We must also consider the technology that it uses to reach across the world in varied venues.

WHO Framework at a Glance PowerPoint Slides

How do they communicate across the world and within particular countries?

Each provider has a scope of practice and roles that in some cases overlap and for all cases complement each member of the interprofessional team. The goal is for all to work in coordination respecting and valuing each members’ expertise and contribution. In the public health arena we work with foundational systems for digital information which is communicated to all providers and stakeholders.  In tracking diseases and illnesses informatics concepts are critical to the accuracy of data collection and transmission, as we can see from the activities above.



The world of epidemiology is embedded in every aspect of what we know as informatics, which provides the technological tools with data, science, and computing power to recognize and interact with interprofessionals throughout the world to improve healthcare (HIMSS, 2023).

Education is key to informing  our patients, community, healthcare workers, and policymakers of the necessity o fund and support a systems approaches in preparing for community acquired disease.



Health informatics. (2023). Wikipedia.

Saba, V. K., & McCormick, K.A. (2015). Essentials of Nursing Informatics (6th ed). McGraw Hill.

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