News | April 06, 2009

GE Healthcare to Include Urgent Public Health Alerts in EMRs

April 5, 2009 - GE Healthcare will collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Public Health Informatics in a project demonstrating the capability of a public health agency to utilize electronic medical record (EMR) systems to provide clinicians with timely, patient-specific information at the point of care.

CDC routinely disseminates important health alerts, advisories and notifications—via email and on the agency’s website—to public health practitioners and clinicians. The pilot program will explore the feasibility of creating and integrating actionable alerts with GE’s Centricity® EMR system based on patient record content, using a standard messaging format. The project will determine the EMR’s ability to identify specific patients with risk factors related to the health condition identified in the alert, enabling clinicians to immediately act on the alerts by addressing the impacted patients. Additionally, the development of a feedback mechanism to capture the provider’s response will be explored.

"GE is excited to partner with CDC on this project to facilitate the ease of information-sharing between health organizations," said Dr. Brandon Savage, Chief Medical Officer, GE Healthcare IT. "Our goal is to leverage national data sources on disease states and improve the ability to recognize trends across communities, state lines and regions. Actionable EMR alerting will enable healthcare professionals to identify and control outbreaks before they turn into epidemics."

Studies have shown that EMR systems with decision support can improve clinician compliance by, among other ways, presenting vaccine reminders to clinicians for immunizing high-risk persons for influenza, identifying high-risk persons for tuberculosis screening and alerting physicians of potential prescribing errors.

GE’s Centricity EMR system is a widely used electronic medical record that enables ambulatory care physicians and clinical staff to document patient encounters, streamline clinical workflow and securely exchange clinical data with other providers, patients, and information systems.

Charles Safran, MD FACP FACMI, Chief Division of Clinical Computing Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center adds, "The ability of public health officials to reach the clinician’s desktop with actionable information will revolutionize response to health threats like the recent outbreaks of salmonella associated diarrhea. This program is a wonderful example of public, private and university collaboration."

"This project will leverage existing data standards, including those from the Health Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP)," Matthew Samore, M.D., director, Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics, University of Utah Biomedical Informatics. "Public-private collaborations such as these are critical in building the informatics infrastructure that we need to improve healthcare."

GE Healthcare IT Vice President and General Manager James M. Corrigan believes this collaboration presents customers with a unique opportunity. "In healthcare today, information is constantly evolving. For more than 40 years, we have demonstrated our commitment to enabling business performance while helping our customers optimize clinical care," said Corrigan. "This collaboration with the CDC can only increase our ability to leverage our commitment to high performance healthcare by breaking down a major barrier to EMR adoption. Together, we will enable clinicians to get the information they need at the time they need it and, most importantly, with the confidence that it is correct. Patient privacy and data security have always been paramount and this agreement will only serve to further strengthen that commitment to our customers."

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