EpiCenter’s outbreak investigation functionality forms the bridge from analysis to action.
Chasing down statistical events can become tedious. EpiCenter helps streamline this process through its investigation functionality. EpiCenter’s automated analysis provides users with a focused list of health-related anomalies. Public health can then associate a single anomaly, or multiple anomalies, to a single investigation — saving time and focusing attention where it belongs.
Additionally, the design of the outbreak investigation functionality is intended to be the first step towards a more robust outbreak management capability. By uniting syndromic and case information in one investigation, public health now has the ability to manage a broader variety of events through a single system.
EpiCenter’s admissions reporting functionality builds on the core syndromic data, providing a more comprehensive view into patient visit details and trends and providing public health with a larger, more complete picture of health in the community.
On an individual basis, the information gathered from these data shows why a patient visited a facility and whether they were admitted, thus providing a complete view of the visit. On a larger scale, admission rates can act as a gauge for the severity of an event. By incorporating these data with registration data, EpiCenter can:
- Improve situational awareness. It provides public health with the ability to view and compare these data against other health data, providing valuable insight into the severity of events and a more complete view of health trends in the community.
- Enhance decision support and allow for earlier response. EpiCenter does this by providing a comprehensive view of visit-lifecycle trends. It appends the admissions information to each patient’s visit, and also links multiple visits through the same healthcare facility or health system, providing epidemiologists with a clear picture of that patient’s visit history.
- Save time by automating reporting. It eliminates reporting fluctuations from healthcare facilities that result from human input, thus resulting in more consistent reports and reducing time spent on data validation. It also decreases the time spent on standard report creation by automating reports such as admission reporting and mortality reporting.
Knowing the outcome of emergency department visits is crucial to assessing the potential severity of an event. EpiCenter provides public health access to this information through its clear, intuitive web interface, allowing agency personnel to quickly assess and control the situation in their region.
EpiCenter is built for innovation. It can incorporate data from a variety of sources; it can accommodate users’ particular classification specifications. These capabilities provide clients with the flexibility they need in order to take on new challenges.
The system’s versatility makes it suitable for pursuing various emergent issues in community health. Particularly within the last few years, Health Monitoring clients have found EpiCenter a useful tool for investigating many issues.
- Opioid Abuse Using classifiers that have been customized to their precise needs, state health departments are deploying EpiCenter to analyze opioid-related hospital visits on the basis of age, sex, location, and other demographic factors. EpiCenter can output this data in report form, including interactive maps, so that users get information perfectly tailored to the specific problem they are trying to solve.
- Gun-Related Injuries Tracking gun violence is a thorny problem for public health. However, EpiCenter’s ongoing collection of real-time emergency department visit data includes information related to gunshot injuries. When spatiotemporal clusters of gunshot wounds are identified in this data, they can be cross-indexed with media reports of shootings and a database of similar events. In past examinations, many clusters corresponded to at least some media coverage of a shooting in the same time and place.
- Antimicrobial Usage Reporting Microbes that have mutated into drug-resistant strains, such as MRSA, pose a fearsome threat to hospital patients. To work on addressing this problem, the CDC and some healthcare providers have been gathering data on hospitals’ use of antimicrobial drugs. The objective is to carefully manage the use of these drugs in order to minimize the microbes’ exposure and adaptation. However, some hospitals find antimicrobial usage reporting to be complex and time-consuming. EpiCenter has the capability to handle such tasks. In a 2018 pilot project sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Health, three of the state’s hospitals provided usage details and patient volume to the EpiCenter system. Health Monitoring staffers then used the system to calculate the CDC’s desired metrics and submitted the results electronically to the national repository.