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Vol. 9 No. 17, August 15, 2012

Fact and Stats

A new study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that using electronic health records (EHR) to tell doctors what infections are going around in their community could help cut down on unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.

That's important because the more often antibiotics are used, the more likely bugs will become resistant to the drugs and harder to treat the next time around. And doctors often prescribe antibiotics when it's not clear whether or not a bacterial infection is really behind a person's fever, runny nose and cough, researchers said.

Dr. Ari Robicsek from NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois and his colleagues used EHR to look back at 28,000 patients who saw one of 69 doctors at NorthShore's hospitals and clinics during flu seasons between 2006 and 2011.

According to the study, physicians on average prescribed antibiotics 45% of the time for patients complaining of a fever and cough or cold symptoms. The rate of antibiotic prescriptions issued varied widely by physician, with doctors prescribing antibiotics between 18% and 84% of the time.

Researchers noted that physicians often prescribed antibiotics when they were uncertain whether a bacterial infection was causing an illness. Researchers also identified patterns suggesting that context influenced physicians' prescribing decisions. For example, antibiotic prescriptions decreased during flu "pandemic" periods, likely because doctors assumed that patients' symptoms were caused by the flu virus.

Dr. Robicsek said the finding that physicians prescribed fewer antibiotics during flu pandemics shows that hospitals could do more to inform physicians about illnesses in the community. He added that his group is working on a tool that would help hospitals do just that, using data from EHR to alert health providers to what symptoms and illnesses have been popping up recently in their area.

Read more

Source: Surveillance May Help Doctors Decide to Prescribe

Date: August 6, 2012

Around the World

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New UK e-Health Centres to Revolutionize Health Research

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News from Canada

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Innovative and Secure Cloud Based Archiving Solution for European Hospitals

Biometric Wristband Could Match Health Monitoring Devices to Electronic Records

Industry Speak

Siemens Introduces Acuson P300 Compact Portable Ultrasound System

Microsoft Lync Enables Remote Health Care Counseling for Cancer Patients

Canadian Market Research

Access up-to-date market intelligence on the Canadian healthcare IT landscape based on data from the HIMSS Analytics Canadian DatabaseSM. Research that can help healthcare IT vendors and consultants expand into the Canadian market and become more competitive in the space. ITAC members receive a 15% discount. For more information click here.

Infoway Update

Find Out What's New and Happening at Canada Health Infoway

Worth Noting

World e-ID Congress 2012

AAL Forum 2012 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

Digital Health Conference 2012 (New York, US)

CEATEC Japan 2012

MIE2012 (Pisa, Italy)

VPH2012 (London, UK)

Health 2.0 Europe 2012 (Berlin, Germany)

itHealthcare Canada 2012

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