Tags: Ebola Outbreak | ebola | hospitals | medical records | software

Hospital Records Being Adapted to ID New Ebola Cases

By    |   Monday, 03 November 2014 07:24 AM

To better and more quickly flag possible Ebola cases, hospital software that charts new patients has been adapted to prompt triage staff to ask about foreign travel, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Updated electronic medical record software manufactured by various vendors mostly for hospitals now matches a patient's travel and family history with clinical symptoms. Some of the applications employ pop-ups or flashing warnings to keep hospital personnel alert to the possible threat of Ebola.

Presbyterian Dallas Hospital, where Ebola-patient Thomas Eric Duncan was initially misdiagnosed and sent home, now has a new electronic medical record meant to ensure that the hospital's emergency room alerts physicians to a patient's travel history. Duncan returned to the hospital, where he died on Oct. 8, according to the Journal.

"Before we had a case of Ebola, no one had programmed these systems to say, 'Here's a patient with a fever who has just come from West Africa: He needs to be isolated,'" said Dr. Robert Wachter of the University of California in San Francisco, the Journal reported.

The system at Boston's Mass General now displays the words "Ebola Screen" as part of the patient record dashboard.

"Let's say you're just coming on shift. One doctor might know about the patient's diarrhea, another might know about the West African travel, but they might not have talked — that's when this would help most," said hospital medical information officer Dr. Garry Choy. "It helps doctors not miss anything," the Journal reported.

Hospital medical records and intake software were originally designed primarily for billing purposes, not to make it easy for physicians and nurses to get a quick, clear overview of a patient's medical and travel history, according to the Journal.

Some vendors have also modified electronic medical record systems used at doctors' offices.

"Somebody has to decide what is concerning enough to have the computer shout out about," said Carl Dvorak, president of Epic Systems Corp., whose firm made the Dallas hospital's software, the Journal reported.

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To better and more quickly flag possible Ebola cases, hospital software that charts new patients has been adapted to prompt triage staff to ask about foreign travel, The Wall Street Journal reported.
ebola, hospitals, medical records, software
330
2014-24-03
Monday, 03 November 2014 07:24 AM
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