This will allow health information to be pushed from electronic health records to public health agencies
(VIENNA, VA – August 17, 2020) The eHealth Exchange, one of the nation’s largest health information networks connecting federal agencies and providers, announced the first go-live of COVID-19 electronic case reporting (eCR) with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and OCHIN. The eHealth Exchange network now enables automated generation and transmission of case reports from electronic health records (EHR) to the necessary public health agencies, increasing accuracy while reducing reporting burdens of providers.
“The new electronic case reporting allows network participants to automatically report relevant health information to public health agencies via the eHealth Exchange,” said Jay Nakashima, executive director of eHealth Exchange. “We’ve been working hard with APHL to bring this to life and hope it eases the process for providers and health information networks reporting COVID-19 data and other reportable conditions to their local, state, and federal agencies.”
OCHIN, a nonprofit health care innovation center, is the first eHealth Exchange network participant to enable case reporting across 20 states in its network. OCHIN recognized the value of leveraging the eHealth Exchange to support electronic case reporting requirements for communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and saw the tremendous potential for population health through other disease notifications using this public health reporting.
“The eHealth Exchange provided OCHIN a single API to securely channel disease notifications to local and state public health authorities all across the U.S.,” said Paul Matthews, chief technology officer and chief information security officer of OCHIN. “So instead of building and maintaining these separate connections with countless public health authorities across the country, this allowed us to create efficiency in the reporting system and reduced the burden on providers in our network.”
In addition to providing this service to its own network participants, which includes 75% of all hospitals in the U.S., the eHealth Exchange is providing this service at no cost to all Carequality-enabled networks so they can contribute to the advancement of public health reporting. This new capability to automatically generate and send case reports initially supports the reporting needs of the national COVID-19 pandemic response and will expand to support the more than 50 reportable diseases that APHL monitors.
“The eHealth Exchange has paved the way for seamless electronic case reporting via the Association of Public Health Laboratories AIMS platform,” said John Loonsk, the chief medical informatics officer of APHL. “The policy and technical underpinnings of the eHealth Exchange allow healthcare organizations to provide critical clinical data to public health while practically reducing their reporting burden.”
While new data reporting protocols from the White House have redirected reporting of some situational awareness data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to Health and Human Services (HHS), these situational awareness data are different from electronic case reporting data which still must flow to state and local public health agencies. Case reporting to state and local public health agencies is required by law in every state and territory. The states do use some of these case data that they receive, in anonymized form and a separate process, to send data to the CDC as well.
The Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the U.S. and globally. APHL’s member laboratories protect the public’s health by monitoring and detecting infectious and foodborne diseases, environmental contaminants, terrorist agents, genetic disorders in newborns and other diverse health threats. Learn more at www.aphl.org.
OCHIN is dedicated to creating a healthier future in every community. A national nonprofit health IT organization with a 20-year history, OCHIN brings advanced technology, research and services to underserved areas, both urban and rural. A driving force for health equity, OCHIN empowers community health organizations serving lower-income areas so that they can deliver the highest quality care to their patients. Learn more at www.ochin.org.