Study: Health IT Has Unmet Potential for Infection Preventionists

Many infection preventionists are not aware of or are not engaged in using electronic health records and health information exchange to report public health information, according to a study in American Journal of Infection Control.

Forty-four IPs responded to a survey on their awareness and use of EHRs and HIE to report public health information. More than 70 percent of respondents have access to an EHR system, but less than 20 percent of these IPs were involved in the design, selection of implementation of the system, according to the study.


As a result of this lack of involvement, respondents noted the health IT systems generally did not include modules or components that supported infection control activities, according to a news release from Indiana University School of Medicine. The lead author of the study, Brian Dixon, MPA, PhD, is an investigator at the IU School of Medicine-affiliated Regenstrief Institute and assistant professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The study also showed that only 10 percent of IPs said their organizations were involved in HIE activities, and 49 percent of IPs were unaware of their organizations' involvement in HIE. Respondents reported a desire for better decision support, paperless reporting methods and situational awareness of community outbreaks, according to the study.

The authors concluded that IPs' relative lack of awareness and engagement in EHR and HIE activities may hinder their ability to use health IT for infection prevention reporting.

More Articles on Health IT and Patient Safety:

Report: 9 Recommendations for HIT Safety Oversight Framework
ONC Presents "3 A's" Strategy to Engage Patients With Health IT

AHRQ Projects Show HIT Can Facilitate Patient-Centered Care

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