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September 14, 2016

Podcast: Chicago's demonstration project for STI electronic case reporting

From left to right: Cristal Simmons, Marion Tseng and I at the Public Health Informatics Conference in Atlanta, GA.

In August, I attended the Public Health Informatics Conference in Atlanta, GA. I attended many great presentations, and one term I heard a lot was “eCR,” which stands for electronic case reporting. eCR essentially means that an electronic health record can send incidents of reportable cases, like certain sexually transmitted infections and other diseases, directly to public health surveillance systems. Electronic case reporting can take the place of the manual reporting methods that we’ve relied on in the past—for example, post cards or faxes for each individual case—which then frees up time and resources.

In this episode, I learn about the Chicago Department of Health’s eCR demonstration project with Dr. Marion Tseng, Health Systems Integration Program (HSIP) Fellow, and her mentor, Cristal Simmons, who is a Senior Epidemiologist. We talked about the challenges of transmitting data electronically when electronic health records and public health surveillance systems don’t have the same data fields, and how informatics plays the role of “translator” between these systems. Cristal and Marion also discussed the importantance of partnerships in this work, as well as the improved data quality and increased efficiency eCR could mean for the Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) program at their agency.

I am very grateful to Marion and Cristal for informing me (and listeners) about eCR!

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