High Rates of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea in Chicago Prompt New Effort to Automate Case Reporting

The Task Force’s Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) is working with healthcare and public health partners in Chicago to combat high rates of the sexually transmitted infections (STIs) chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Healthcare providers are required by law to report cases of both diseases to their jurisdictional public health departments. Often, this requires duplicating information already found in a patient’s electronic health record, which is time consuming and slows reporting. These delays can hamper the abilities of health departments to take actions to address cases of these diseases.

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PHII is working with the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services and the Illinois Department of Health to pilot test a new automated process for electronic case reporting (ECR). Once complete, the system will automatically send information about cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea directly to health departments. This process should enable quicker treatment of patients and their sexual partners and improve detection of outbreaks.

“We recognize the urgency to arm public health workers with timely, accurate, and complete patient data so they can better respond to STIs and ultimately improve patient health outcomes,” said PHII’s Interim Director of Practice Support Jim Jellison, MPH.

Chicago’s ECR pilot builds on previous work that the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services and the Chicago Department of Public Health have conducted to apply emerging health information technology standards to public health case reporting.

In 2017, PHII will explore opportunities to implement Chicago’s ECR process at other pilot sites in hopes of establishing a national approach.

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