The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Chicago, has named its 2011 Davies Awards of Excellence for public health organizations showing innovation and leadership in their use of health information technology.

The awards are named in memory of Nicholas Davies, M.D., a champion of information technology and member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Improving the Patient Record, who died in 1991.

The 2011 award winners are the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Epidemiology for its Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics, Florida, or ESSENCE-FL; and the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene for its Primary Care Information Project.

State- and county-level epidemiologists in Florida use ESSENCE-FL, which uses data from hospitals to detect disease outbreaks and monitor injuries and death from natural or man-made disasters such as the Gulf oil spill. In one instance, a county user discovered four patients treated at the same emergency department in a short time period had eaten at the same grocery store deli.

The Primary Care Information Project in New York City has made electronic health records available to more than 2,800 primary care physicians working in underserved areas and serving more than 2 million patients in the city. Run by 95 staff members, the project gives the practices access to shared resources such as clinical quality and technical staff, quality dashboards and group training. A recent study showed substantial improvements in managing blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.


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