CDC's BioSense signs up Kansas HIE

By Erin McCann
08:07 AM

Officials at the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) announced Wednesday that they have begun sharing anonymous patient data with BioSense, a public health system coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that systematically tracks hospital emergency department visits.

The data sharing between the two entities, officials say, will enable public health professionals to monitor a broad array of potential public health threats.

The CDC-coordinated system was recently redesigned to improve the information provided by the system and to promote standardization and collaboration across states.

[Feature: A new age of biosurveillance is upon us]

“KHIN provides de-identified health information from Kansas patients to BioSense in real time,” said Laura McCrary, executive director of KHIN. “This data allows public health partners to rapidly assess potential health threats in Kansas more quickly than in the past when it was necessary to rely on phone calls or fax. This exchange also helps Kansas providers meet a Stage 2 meaningful use requirement to electronically share syndromic surveillance data with public health agencies.”

KHIN aggregates health information from healthcare providers across the state of Kansas in an area that covers 85,000 square miles and includes a population of approximately 3 million.

“BioSense has a lot of potential to provide data in a more efficient manner as well as additional information we have not been able to attain previously,” said Charles Hunt, state epidemiologist and director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “The utilization of the HIE to submit data to BioSense in Kansas has brought us more quickly to the point where we can begin monitoring patient health in the aggregate to further improve outcomes in our state,” Hunt said. “Working in conjunction with the CDC will provide a timely and cohesive picture at the state level to detect and characterize public health problems early and coordinate appropriate responses.”

KHIN will be tapping interoperability solutions provider ICA for its CareAlign health information exchange platform.

[Related: CDC girding to open its cloud to public health departments]

“The enthusiastic uptake by numerous integrated delivery systems, hospitals and large clinics, and literally thousands of providers, enabled the CareAlign interoperability platform to perform one of its more advanced and complex functions: monitoring and managing the health of a large population," said ICA chief executive officer, Gary Zegiestowsky. "KHIN’s effort with CDC’s BioSense program will become a case study in how health technology can truly improve the health of large and broad populations from which the rest of the country can learn."

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