ORLANDO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--After a full year of feasibility studies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is taking a significant step toward providing public health information at the point-of-care. CDC is collaborating with GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), to explore the efficacy of actionable health alerts, delivered instantly to a physician’s electronic medical record.
“When a physician is seeing a patient, she just punches the data in as she normally would,” explained Dr. Mark Dente, Chief Medical Informatics Officer for GE Healthcare IT. “The real work happens behind the scenes.”
Once the data is entered, it’s de-identified and transmitted to an archive where it’s measured against a disease profile and, where a suitable match is found, the relevant alert is issued and appears on the doctor’s EMR (Electronic Medical Record) display without so much as an extra keystroke.
“Our first use case explores foodborne illness—and CDC estimates there are 48 million cases of it in the US alone each year,” explained Dente. “As symptoms are captured by the computer, CDC matches them to patients reporting the same symptoms in a concentrated area—and a public health alert is issued. We could potentially reduce full days off the typical time needed to disseminate a public health alert, potentially saving lives. This is an incredibly exciting effort.”
“The adoption rate for EMR systems is increasing and public health needs to leverage data from these systems,” added Nedra Garrett, Director of CDC Division of Informatics Practice, Policy and Coordination. “Providing public health information to providers at the point of care based on presenting symptoms of the patient is a big leap forward.”
Announced at this week’s meeting of the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society in Orlando, the project will begin with a six-month prospective study, seeking to determine if the alerts are triggered often enough or too often, and if doctors take the advice displayed within the alerts. As a foundation, the study will utilize GE Healthcare’s densely populated Medical Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC) database, which today holds more than 17 million de-identified patient records.
”There’s a real opportunity here to more seamlessly contribute to-- and benefit from-- public health surveillance at the point of patient care,” said Dr. Fred Rachman, CEO of the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services. The Alliance, with participation from the Chicago Department of Public Health, has collaborated to develop and implement a use case for the pilot program since 2009. “If this is successful, and we’re able to deliver instant, actionable health alerts, we can intervene more rapidly at the individual patient level and more effectively contain communicable outbreaks. This type of rapid dissemination of relevant, up-to-the-minute information to clinicians at the point of care is a model. It demonstrates how public health oriented clinical decision support could enable us to manage disease more effectively at an earlier stage. It could impact lifespan and quality of life at a global level.”
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