IOM: U.S. health-record surveillance is needed

Electronic health records are being increasingly used by physicians in the U.S., but more need to climb on board for a really useful system to keep track of data on heart and lung conditions. Still, there is an opportunity to take advantage of available electronic medical records to help prevent and treat chronic diseases, according to the Institute of Medicine, as reported in InformationWeek.

A national disease "surveillance" system might sound a bit Big Brother-ish to some--and the IOM admits that "privacy issues must be addressed." But there is an opportunity now for health officials to use commingled health data for "population surveillance, performance assessment, predictive modeling, and care management." Lack of a "robust surveillance system," the IOM says, makes it difficult to "track the nation's health status despite advances in technology and data collection."

According to InformationWeek, the IOM is requesting that a system--led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services--should incorporate data on the incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular and chronic lung disease over time; health outcomes as a result of increased disease surveillance; racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities in heart and lung disease; and care delivery.

The IOM's report was requested by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

- read more in InformationWeek

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