CHICAGO (Reuters) – GPs take advantage of their electronic medical records to identify unvaccinated patients and individuals who may have been infected to help contain the worst measles outbreak in the 25 years.
The NYU NY Lang Health NYU network of hospitals and medical offices treats patients from Rockland County and Brooklyn, two epicentres of the case. It has built alerts to its electronic medical records system to inform doctors and nurses that a patient lives in a case area, based on their Zip code.
“We are identifying new patients who may have come into contact with measles and need to be assessed,” said Dr Michael Phillips, head of epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health.
Alerts in a patient's medical record also encourage conversations with our visitors – who may also have had contact with the virus – about their own health, previous exposure to measles and vaccination history. .
Mount Sinai Health System in New York introduced a similar program last week, said Dr Bruce Darrow, his chief medical information officer.
Darrow said it was important because although a patient coming from a Zip code whose measles had passed may have passed, maybe the family members who have visited have been open.
He said the warning system raised awareness for doctors and nurses “to be vigilant not only to our patients, but to anyone coming into the building.” T
US officials have reported that over 700 cases have been confirmed from the measles, the highest level since the virus was removed in 2000. A measles virus is highly infectious and can t causing blindness, deafness, damage to the brain or death.
In NYU Langone, the alerts were developed using software by Madison, Epic Medical Systems based on Wisconsin. Epic, whose medical records software is being used by thousands of hospitals and US clinics, said that other customers had started asking for their help to get to grips with the case.
In response, Epic released a guide how last month incorporated many of the best ideas from his customers fighting the case. The guide walks health systems by using medical records to identify and reach unvaccinated patients and help inform doctors on how to screen, track and treat measles patients.
“For example, we can find all those patients who are missing from the MMR vaccine and send a message to patients or providers,” said Jordan Tucker, a member of the Epic action team, who is a member of the team. help to oversee the project.
So far, Epic clients in New York, Illinois, Texas and California are using the system to fight the cause.
Illinois has confirmed seven cases of measles this year. In response to reports about a possible case in the Chicago area, two hospitals in the suburbs last month sent hundreds of letters to parents urging them to ensure that their children were pictures of the measles.
“We wanted to do everything we could before we got there,” says Dr. Michael Caplan, co-medical director of a pediatric partnership between the Children's Hospital Advocate and the University of North Wales Health System.
Sutter Health from Northern California, serving 1.7 million patients last month, presented a screening questionnaire for the potential risk of measles to all patients trying to book their appointment online.
Dr. Jeffrey Silvers, medical director of infectious diseases Sutter Health, said that people with measles often seek treatment for symptoms such as coughing, nose running out or fever before they develop the story telling rash t . The aim of the screening program is to identify early whether they represent measles.
“If someone has a fever and one of those symptoms, or a rash, they have to answer the next question, namely, 'Have you been outside the United States? Last three weeks or have been open to anyone with the measles? 'Silvers said.
Those answering yes must call to arrange their appointment so that staff can take precautions to protect themselves and other patients.
So far California has had 40 cases of measles, most of which are in the southern part of the state. Sutter plans to use Epic software to develop a program to increase vaccination coverage and measles, says Silver.
According to the World Health Organization, 95 per cent of the population needs to be vaccinated to provide “herd immunity,” a form of indirect protection that prevents vaccination among people who are too young or ill. GDC officials have said increasing rates of suspicion of vaccines are creating unvaccinated populations, weakening herd immunity.
If the herd's immunity is inadequate and exposures continue, the cause could start, says Illinois pediatrician, Chaplain. “Everyone is a bit worried about that.”
Report by Julie Steenhuysen; Edited by Daniel Wallis