Surveillance and notification – a winning combination for physician practices

HealthBridge, one of our partners in providing syndromic surveillance for the Ohio Department of Health, recently unveiled a new service that will alert physicians when one of their patients have an emergency room visit or admission to the hospital.

The system, ED Admit Alert, is a participant in the federal government Beacon Community Program—working as a model for information technology adoption. The ED Admit Alert system operates in real time, immediately notifying a physician when a visit or admission happens.

HMS recognizes the value of ED Admit Alert, particularly its close relationship to the function of syndromic surveillance. We believe that this function would add value to syndromic surveillance systems when ambulatory care patients and in-patients are added to emergency department surveillance.

One of the challenges to public health—when it comes to recruiting hospitals to participate in a syndromic surveillance system—is demonstrating value back to healthcare providers. ED Admit Alert’s notifications are an excellent example of how data can be meaningfully used to providers’ benefit.

Additionally, increasing oversight of readmissions and the advent of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) have forced providers to look at their data much more carefully. Utilizing a system such as ED Admit Alert, in conjunction with a syndromic surveillance system, will provide more comprehensive data analysis capabilities. Operating in real-time, a surveillance and notification combination could immediately process and alert constituencies to events of interest.

ED Admit Alert and the information that it will provide to primary care practices will benefit patients, public health, and physicians themselves. It’s a positive step toward more effective public health maintenance and oversight.