SAN FRANCISCO - October 20, 2009 - Practice Fusion Inc. (www.practicefusion.com), the free, web-based electronic health record (EHR) for physicians, today implemented a first-of-its-kind tool that allows its physician-users to immediately and accurately identify all Tier 1 candidates for H1N1 vaccination from their patient populations using criteria published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are considerable hopes for the clinical applications of EHRs, and Practice Fusion's ability to quickly develop and release this report makes good on the promise of the model in general, and proves the efficacy of its unique hosted, web-based solution. The new feature was prompted by Dr. Tamara Cheney, a family practice physician and Practice Fusion customer in California, who was seeking a solution for identifying patients within her own practice who should be vaccinated against H1N1. Working with its flexible development platform, Practice Fusion was able to provide something to Dr. Cheney that could be immediately released to every physician in the system, benefiting the entire patient community.
Practice Fusion's new public health tool identified approximately 300,000 eligible patients system-wide and instantly notified all physicians accordingly. Physicians have also been given access to data that will assist them in ordering vaccines from state agencies or to direct patients to locations where they can receive them, if necessary.
"H1N1 flu is a high-profile public health concern this winter in the U.S., and around the world. The World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic, and in the United States, the CDC has marshaled significant resources to respond to this public health crisis. Now the challenge is accurately distributing and administering the vaccine," said Robert Rowley, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Practice Fusion. "Being able to immediately input the CDC's unique criteria into our system and alert the 21,000 users we serve makes this report implementation one of the broadest and most-rapidly deployed biosurveillance efforts to date. It exemplifies the clinical value of EHR for practices of any size."
The Practice Fusion H1N1 report has been made immediately available to all its EHR users so each practice can both identify candidates in their patient population who fit the vaccination criteria (to obtain adequate quantities of vaccines from the CDC), and contact these patients when vaccination supplies arrive. This report, as with all product upgrades and new features, is provided free of charge to users of the Practice Fusion EHR.
"Getting this report out in a matter of days at a time of national need highlights the intrinsic superiority of a web-based application over our competitors that need to be installed with on-site, server-based systems," said Ryan Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion. "The ability to help our doctors immediately and accurately respond to a public-health crisis, without need for 'product upgrades,' is only possible with a web-based system. We are proud of our ability to help our country face H1N1 flu armed with the powerful tools and technologies Practice Fusion is developing."
Through local intermediary organizations, private practicing physicians across the country received questionnaires in the last 1–2 weeks asking for patient counts in the 5 high-risk categories (described below), in order to know how much vaccine to ship to each doctor's office. Without an EHR, generating this list would be an exceedingly slow, labor intensive, error-prone process for physicians and their staff.
*CDC criteria for vaccination
A central response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic has been the development of widespread vaccination. Because of the scope of this disease, unlike other vaccines, the CDC is making the H1N1 vaccine available to private and public health care providers free of cost (for the vaccine supply itself). To control quantities, the CDC has developed criteria for who should be the first to get the vaccine.
The H1N1 vaccine recommendations are significantly different than those for annual (seasonal) flu. Whereas seasonal flu vaccination programs focus on seniors, adults with chronic conditions, and children, the H1N1 recommendations target these populations:
- Pregnant women
- All infants and patients <24 years of age
- Healthcare workers
- Adults taking care of infants <6 months of age
- Adults ages 24-64 with specific chronic medical conditions (diabetes, renal disease, COPD, angina or cancer).
Note: seniors >65 year of age are not First Tier candidates for H1N1 vaccination (unlike seasonal flu). When adequate vaccine supplies become available, then all adults 24-64 (regardless of chronic condition) will be vaccinated as a Second Tier. Seniors >65 comprise the Third Tier.
About Practice Fusion
Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) system to primary care physicians. With charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, referral letters, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients, Practice Fusion's EMR addresses the complex needs of today's healthcare providers and disrupts the health IT status quo. Practice Fusion is the fastest growing EHR community in the country with more than 21,000 users in 50 states. For more information on Practice Fusion, please visit practicefusion.com.
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