23 Feb EHRs help address measles crisis
Although the recent measles outbreak, which started in California, has not yet reached the Missouri area, hospitals in the region are doing everything they can to stop the illness in its tracks. One important step they are taking is contacting the parents of children who have not yet been vaccinated against the disease. This action, though simple and straightforward, could be crucial in preventing an epidemic, and it has been made even easier with the help of electronic health records.
According to St. Louis Public Radio, organizations like St. Louis' Mercy Clinic have pointed to electronic health records as being invaluable elements in this process. After deciding to reach out to parents, it only took 72 hours for medical IT workers to assemble a list of patients who had not received immunizations. About 4 percent of school-aged children in the city have not been vaccinated against the disease, which is significant in terms of how easily the virus is spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the illness is very contagious and can be easily transmitted through the air.
After receiving a list of 1,900 patients generated from electronic health records, workers at Mercy Clinic were able to book 40 appointments in just a few days, making significant strides in improving public health. While some parents had medical or religious reasons for not vaccinating their little ones, the source explained that many of them had just forgotten to book appointments and were grateful to receive calls.
"It's much easier now. Before, you used to have to pull in charts one by one. It's actually shocking how many parents do not realize what the vaccine schedule is, and thought they had already had the measles vaccine," Amy Pogue, an office manager for Mercy Clinic, told St. Louis Public Radio.