Kansas HIE To Share Hospital Data With CDC Surveillance System

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The Kansas Health Information Network recently became the first health information exchange to connect to CDC’s syndromic surveillance system, Clinical Innovation & Technology reports.

Details of CDC System

The CDC system -- called BioSense -- tracks 89 syndrome categories, as required under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Response Act of 2002.

Among the categories are a variety of symptoms that can be aggregated across geographic areas to find possible outbreaks associated with common diagnoses, including:

  • Abdominal pain;
  • Asthma;
  • Nausea and vomiting; and
  • Rashes.

The addition of KHIN to the system adds the surveillance data of 10 Kansas hospitals. BioSense previously received data from only one Kansas hospital (Clinical Innovation & Technology, 11/28).

Reasons for Connecting to System

KHIN officials said that sharing data with the CDC system will help public health officials monitor a broad array of potential public health threats.

Charles Hunt -- director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment -- said, "The utilization of the HIE to submit data to BioSense in Kansas has brought us more quickly to the point where we can begin monitoring patient health in the aggregate to further improve outcomes in our state."

He added, "Working in conjunction with the CDC will provide a timely and cohesive picture at the state level to detect and characterize public health problems early and coordinate appropriate responses."

In addition, Laura McCrary -- executive director of KHIN -- said that sharing data with the CDC system also will help Kansas health care providers meet the Stage 2 meaningful use requirement "to electronically share syndromic surveillance data with public health agencies."

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 11/28).
Leslie Lenert
HIE's were sending data to Biosense in 2008. The CDC's program for 3 HIE test beds for Biosense was discontinued in 2009 for "budgetary" reasons.

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