Boston consortium awarded Center of Excellence grant for medical record surveillance systems

BOSTON, MA (Sept. 28, 2005) - A Boston consortium was today awarded one of two national grants to form a CDC Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics. The $4.5 million award will allow researchers from the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care), the Children's Hospital Informatics Program at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences Technology (of Children's Hospital Boston), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates and other Massachusetts health care organizations to build a private, secure, electronic medical records search system that gives public health officials real-time illness data.

This information will allow health officials to develop highly effective health strategies and more accurately pinpoint responses and resources.

"The idea is to build a model system that can be adopted by health systems across the country," says grant principal investigator Richard Platt, professor and chair of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention. "It's vital that we find ways to improve communication between the public, clinicians, and public health personnel to more quickly recognize actual and potential problems that require coordinated action. "

Co-principal investigator Kenneth Mandl, attending physician in Children's Department of Emergency Medicine, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and affiliated faculty at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences Technology, says "the software solutions and systems that we create will be something that can be widely disseminated, readily adopted, and open to all."

"The consortium will build a confidential and secure system that will initially focus on asthma, influenza immunization in at-risk populations, and sexually transmitted diseases," says Dr. Al DeMaria, Chief Medical O

Contact: Leah Gourley or John Lacey
Harvard Medical School

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