Fierce Healthcare writes: With higher EHR adoption rates across healthcare, more patient data is flowing into provider systems that can be used to inform public health agencies about community-specific illnesses. Researchers with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the NYU School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health teamed up with health IT developers to build an EHR surveillance tool called NYC Macroscope. Using data from a subset of 700 primary care practices throughout New York City, researchers showed that analyzing EHR data is just as accurate at measuring the prevalence of chronic illnesses as traditional methods like in-person examination surveys and telephone surveys. The results were published in the American Journal of Public Health. Researchers found that NYC Macroscope was particularly effective at tracking diabetes, hypertension, smoking and obesity. The surveillance tool was less effective at accurately measuring high cholesterol, depression and influenza vaccination rates, in part because those conditions are harder to document and measure within EHR systems.
Read more: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/ehr/study-ehrs-are-untapped-public-health-resource