such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
Researchers at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Harvard Medical School,
Atrius Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have
created and tested a set of computer programs that use electronic
medical records to help clinicians detect contagious illness and
automatically report them to public health departments.
The new system, called Electronic Medical Record Support for Public
Health, or ESP, was described in the April 11 issue of Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. The pilot version of ESP was installed in
January 2007 at Atrius Health, a multi-specialty physician group with
30 practice sites in Eastern Massachusetts. Atrius Health is an
alliance of five medical groups serving approximately 600,000 patients
at outpatient clinical sites and hospitals.
“This is a good example of the way clinicians can provide better
support for public health activities that benefit everyone,” says
Richard Platt, senior author for this study and chairman of the Harvard
Medical School Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard
Pilgrim Health Care. “It is especially noteworthy that this system also
reduces the amount of work required of busy practitioners.”
Typically, clinicians report diseases by filling out paper forms and
mailing or faxing them to health authorities. This time-consuming work
has historically led to delays in disease reporting and even failure to
report some cases altogether. The new system will save time by
automatically scanning electronic medical records to identify cases and
electronically report them to the health department on clinicians’
behalf. The system will also benefit health officials by providing more
complete, timely, and accurate disease reports.
At present, 45 percent of Massachusetts clinicians use an electronic
medical record, a number expected to rise to 75 percent by 2010.
ESP substantially increased both the number of reported infections
and the completeness of information sent to health officials. In a one
year period, the electronic system reported approximately 40 percent
more cases of Chlamydia and 50 percent more cases of gonorrhoea. In
addition, the electronic system did a better job of reporting if the
infected patient was pregnant and whether correct antibiotics had been
prescribed. The electronic disease reports contain the same information
that clinicians currently report in accordance with state law.
ESP is currently designed to report seven different infections:
active tuberculosis, acute hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, acute
hepatitis C, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
The research team is developing methods to detect and report additional
kinds of infections.
“Despite increasing use of electronic medical records, disease
reporting is still frequently done by paper. ESP offers the promise of
more rapid detection of threats to the public health. This would allow
faster action to prevent further transmission of infection," says
Alfred DeMaria, Jr, MD, Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease
Control at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Source : Harvard Medical School. April 2008.
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