New Program to Track Hearing Screenings for Newborns

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OZ Systems, a vendor of information systems for administering newborn hearing screenings, is now offering a service to aid providers in complying with a Stage 2 Meaningful Use measure and a Joint Commission requirement to demonstrate that infants are screened before discharge from the hospital.

The initiative also will collect and analyze data to assess how well screenings are being reported to public health agencies, parents and pediatricians, with OZ Systems CEO Terese Finitzo, a clinical pediatric audiologist, running the program.

“I want to see where we stand,” Finitzo says. “How are we doing? If we’re not doing well in some areas, how can we improve?”

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The program, being run with more than 300 hospitals and public health departments in Texas, Maryland and North Dakota, is funded with a $125,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The goal is to not only ensure the hearing screenings are done in the hospital, but to make sure that infants with a hearing problem are getting proper follow-up care and sustaining treatments. Up to one million infants could be part of the program.

With data collected via OZ’s electronic records systems, the project could improve interoperability of hearing-related data between state programs, hospitals, pediatricians and parents, and lead to best practices that can be disseminated across the industry, Finitzo says.

OZ Systems and its partners will track why data did not go through to assess how many babies are falling through the cracks. In many cases, Finitzo says, babies got the screening but the documentation may get lost.

The project will run during 2016 with findings reported in 2017.

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