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CDC Picks GE Healthcare to Track H1N1

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 29, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has chosen GE Healthcare's electronic medical records network to provide surveillance data for H1N1 and season influenza activity.

Under the agreement, GE Healthcare will submit a real-time update on the status of influenza activity every 24 hours by monitoring a national database of nearly 14 million patient records.

GE Healthcare says it will glean the information from its Medical Quality Improvement Consortium, a repository designed within HIPAA guidelines for providing anonymous clinical data.

Participating physicians automatically contribute anonymous data to MQIC each day through normal use of GE's Centricity EMR when they document information collected during patient visits to physician offices and clinics. GE Healthcare says the MQIC database is growing by nearly 30% each year and has been validated in peer-review studies as representative of demographic and co-morbidity averages in the U.S. population.

"The data passed along by doctors is a clinically-accurate representation of H1N1-related symptoms and trends," says Peter Basch, MD, an internist with MedStar Health, in Washington, DC, which is a program participant. "(That) enables CDC researchers to track hotspots as the flu season evolves and quickly communicate that information to healthcare providers to improve awareness and response for better clinical outcomes."

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