Flint pediatrician uses Epic EHR to discover lead poisoning

Since April 2014, Flint, Mich., has been in the midst of a water contamination crisis leading to high levels of lead in the city’s municipal water supply. Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, a pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center in Flint helped bring the water crisis to public attention after using Epic’s EHR to analyze patient data and discover the unsafe levels of lead in children’s blood, reports Wisconsin State Journal.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha compared blood test results stored in the hospital’s Epic EHR for children who had blood tests done at Hurley from January 2013 to September 2013 with children who had blood tests for January 2015 to September 2015. She found the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels increased from 2.4 percent to 4.9 percent during that time frame. In some places in Flint, the percentage of blood lead levels rose from 4 percent to 10.6 percent, according to the report.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha shared the results of her study at a press conference in September.

“If we did not have Epic, if we did not have [EMRs], if we were still on paper, it would have taken forever to get these results,” Dr. Hanna-Attisha told Wisconsin State Journal.

Hurley Medical Center is putting a lead alert in children’s medical records so physicians and families can watch for symptoms of lead poisoning in the future, since symptoms can take years to present, according to the report.

The water crisis in Flint began after the city switched its water supply in April 2014 from Detroit’s system to the Flint River as cost saving measure.

More articles on Epic:

The 3 things Google's Larry Page and Epic's Judy Faulkner have in common 
Epic named No. 1 Overall Software Suite by KLAS for 6th year 
50 things to know about Epic and Judy Faulkner 

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