Evidence-based Public Health Initiatives

Due to federal Meaningful Use regulations, syndromic surveillance has gone from being a fairly obscure concept to one that is now familiar–if not entirely understood–by almost every segment of healthcare provider. Health Monitoring Systems was founded long before the advent of the federal meaningful use program, and we have always had a broader vision of “Community Health Surveillance,” with syndromic surveillance being just one (key) piece of the broader surveillance network.
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The NYC A1C Diabetes Registry

Diabetes represents a growing public health crisis in the United States. Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and the CDC estimates that there are an additional 8.1 million people (representing 27.8% of all diabetics) who are living undiagnosed. The costs associated with these patients (both direct and indirect) are estimated at nearly $250 billion yearly. As the number of patients increases and costs (both physical and financial) continue to grow, a number of public health departments are investigating novel ways of addressing the problem. One of the most intriguing of these programs is the New York City A1C registry.
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Managing Diabetes: A Public Health Perspective

Diabetes, the metabolic disease which causes the elevated levels of glucose in the blood due to the body’s inability to either produce or respond to insulin, is becoming a serious concern for public health professionals. According to the CDC, 1.7 million adults were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2012 alone. The CDC states that 9.3 percent of the US population currently suffers from diabetes. Dr. Ann Albright, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, expressed her concern:
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5 Things You Should Know About the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

We recently blogged about a new study finding that nearly 60 percent of the variation in hospital readmission rates appears to be associated with where the hospital is located, rather than on the hospital’s performance .
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Breezing through Nashville

As promised, I had the opportunity to present my poster “Visualizing Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Emergency Department Utilization during a Polar Vortex” at the 2014 CSTE Annual Conference in Nashville, TN. Thanks to everyone who stopped by; I think it was generally well received. As an experiment in visualization, it was a moderate success. Most folks could understand the graphics once they were explained, but the patterns were not as immediately apparent as one might want. By virtue of sharing the visualization in this forum, I was able to get helpful feedback that should improve future attempts to present information in this format.
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Refining Accountability in Patient Care

According to a new report, while half of providers believe that value-based reimbursement will eventually foster population health, reduce costs, and improve the patient experience, 80% of providers have found a need for more staff, more time, and more investments in order to make it work.
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HMS CSTE Conference Presentation Reminder

Visualizing Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Emergency Department Utilization during a Polar Vortex

Dr. Andrew Walsh will present a poster on his abstract, Visualizing Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Emergency Department Utilization during a Polar Vortex, at next week’s annual CSTE conference in Nashville on Monday, June 23, 2014 from 3:30 PM-4:00 PM. Look for poster 239.
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Readmissions & Demographics

Working with public health departments, Health Monitoring Systems’ staff has worked with over 700 hospitals to collect emergency department registrations and admissions data from them. The question we always strive to answer is, “What else can we do?” Public health is intrinsically data-driven, attempting to understand both health trends and events in an effort to anticipate and plan intervention to monitor and protect the community’s health.
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Pool Poison: Preventable Injuries in the Thousands

With scorching temperatures right around the corner, many people will be readying their pools, which can be a surprisingly dangerous business. According to a recent study by the CDC, 4,900 people visited the emergency department for preventable pool chemical injuries in 2012. Commonly, the diagnosis of these injuries was poisoning, which would stem from things such as inhalation of vapors, fumes and gases. Fortunately, there were no deaths relating to pool chemicals at the time of the study.
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Heartbleed Update

Everyone who follows the news is aware of the now-notorious Heartbleed bug, which is thought to have affected up to two-thirds of all websites. Users received notices from websites like Gmail and Pinterest advising them to change their passwords, and an estimated 39% of us actually took the step of updating our login credentials. But why was it an issue in the first place? Was EpiCenter affected?
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