Discharge Planning Advisor: Patient records linked as part of warning system

Twenty million ambulatory care patient records will be connected as part of an early warning system for terrorism-related illness outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $1.2 million to the Harvard Consortium to develop and pilot the early warning system.

The project will create a computer operating system that can link information from various types of medical systems and health departments so health professionals receive early warning of a terrorism attack, the CDC announced.

The system would scan managed care networks continually for clusters of illness. If successful, the platform would serve as a model for a syndromic surveillance system that would be one element of a national warning system.

Consortium members include the American Association of Health Plans, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, HealthPartners Research Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente of Colorado. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov.