By Julie A. Pursley, MSHI, RHIA, CHDA, FAHIMA
Did you know that in addition to the COVID-19 data making appearance in headlines around the world, more than 3,000 health departments in the US gather data to protect their communities from approximately 120 diseases? Public health reporting varies by state and is dependent upon the healthcare provider’s timely and accurate reporting. We are witnessing wide gaps in reporting during the pandemic, due in part to the continued use of paper-based systems. This manual approach of individually faxing, emailing, and making phone calls to public health agencies is time consuming, error-prone, and inefficient—and it reduces an epidemiologist’s ability to investigate potential cases in a timely manner.
Health information (HI) professionals are data stewards who support public health reporting by governing the collection, management, protection, and sharing of quality health information. They serve as a bridge between clinical documentation and the accuracy of reported data. HI leadership’s evaluation of current public health reporting workflows in their facilities is crucial; moving from a paper-based reporting system to an electronic one should be prioritized to ensure community and state leaders have the timely, reliable information they need to make good decisions.
Electronic reporting integrated with electronic health records (EHR) is now available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Electronic Case Reporting (eCR) tool. This tool makes reporting faster and easier, moving data securely and seamlessly from the point of care to public health agencies, and it can be easily integrated with an organization’s EHR. It automatically generates and transmits case reports using a shared and interoperable infrastructure as well as an eCR Now Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) app for rapid implementation.
Learn more by viewing this 18-minute complimentary on-demand webinar hosted by AHIMA that explores eCR. Laura A. Conn, MPH, the CDC’s eCR lead and health scientist, shares how eCR can help healthcare organizations fulfill their mandatory public health reporting requirements for COVID-19 while reducing administrative burdens. Conn serves at the CDC’s Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, and she works directly with health information technology developers, local health authorities, and healthcare providers to support the technical implementation of eCR.
Julie A. Pursley ([email protected]) is a director of practice excellence at AHIMA.
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