- Rochester RHIO is helping the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assess the impact of HPV vaccinations by contributing EHR patient data to researchers.
The CDC-sponsored project is spearheaded by the Center for Community Health and Prevention of the University of Rochester. To assist researchers, the New York regional health information exchange (HIE) is providing anonymized clinical data about cervical cancer screenings and trends from around the area.
In addition to RHIO, researchers are also utilizing data from California, Connecticut, Oregon, and Tennessee for use in the HPV Vaccine Impact Monitoring Project (HPV-IMPACT).
The project aims to monitor the incidence of precancerous cervical lesions and cervical cancer in patients by analyzing screening data for trends.
“As a result of our partnership with the Rochester RHIO, we are able to determine how often women are screened for cervical cancer in our community,” said Center for Community Health and Prevention Director Nancy Bennett.
Patient health data from RHIO spans 2008-2014. The data is used to identify trends including changes in the percentage of women screened, implications for specific age groups, and overall test outcomes. This information will be useful in determining whether decreases in incidences of HPV are attributable to vaccine use or decreases in detection.
“By knowing how much screening rates have decreased, we can determine what portion of the drop in disease we see is due to less screening and what part is due to the increase in HPV vaccination,” said Bennett. “We are the only community in the study that can directly measure screening, and that is due to the quality and availability of the RHIO data.”
Rochester RHIO is a qualified entity (QE) part of the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY). There are eight QEs in New York that include participation from hospitals, clinics, home care agencies, payers, ambulatory practices and federal qualified health centers (FQHCs).
“Community health information exchanges such as the Rochester RHIO play a critical role in identifying public health trends that impact millions of people across the country and right here at home,” said Rochester RHIO President and CEO Jill Eisenstein.
“The data we are providing HPV-IMPACT has been called the ‘gold standard’ for assessing screening rates for this initiative, helping public health to better understand the impact of a critical public health intervention to prevent this devastating disease,” she continued.
Members of the HPV-IMPACT team include Center for Community Health and Prevention University of Rochester Medical Center emerging infections program coordinator health project coordinator Mary Scahill and emerging infections program co-director Christina Felson.
Other HIEs including Connecticut-based CTHealthLink have also contributed EHR patient data to research projects in an effort to improve overall community health.
In February, CTHealthLink leadership announced plans to leverage patient EHR data for improved suicide prevention.
The HIE provided centralized patient health data for a project funded by a $1.9 million, three-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health as part of the institute’s Zero Suicide initiative.
Researchers used patient EHRs to identify factors that may lead to suicide and spur prevention efforts targeting at-risk individuals.
Health data in the physician-led HIE includes information gathered from physician groups, psychotherapist practices, and hospital emergency departments.
CTHealthLink provided researchers with clinical and psychological data as well as lab test results and prescription information. Health data contained within the HIE was especially helpful in identifying teenagers exhibiting symptoms of depression.
The HIE also offered social determinants of health data to help researchers identify individuals that may be at an increased risk of suicide due to unemployment, homelessness, or drug use.