Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fast Access to Records Helps Fight Epidemics

Freudenheim, Milt. "Access to Records Helps Fight Epidemics." The New York Times, June 18, 2012.

From the article: "Public health departments around the country have long scrutinized data from local hospitals for indications that diseases like
influenza, tuberculosis, AIDS, syphilis and asthma might be on the rise, and to monitor the health consequences of heat waves, frigid weather or other natural phenomena. In the years since 9/11, this scrutiny has come to include signs of possible bioterrorism.

When medical records were maintained mainly on paper, it could take weeks to find out that an infection was becoming more common or that tainted greens had appeared on grocery shelves. But the growing prevalence of electronic medical records has had an unexpected benefit: By combing through the data now received almost continuously from hospitals and other medical facilities, some health departments are spotting and combating outbreaks with unprecedented speed." Read more