The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to study the effectiveness of HPV vaccinations and is turning to the Rochester (N.Y.) Regional Health Information Organization for help.
The RHIO has provided the CDC with anonymized clinical data to monitor the incidence of precancerous cervical lesions and cervical cancer. Additional data was contributed to the project from other researchers in California, Connecticut, Oregon and Tennessee.
HPV is a viral infection passed through skin-to-skin contact.
The data, from 2008 to 2014, are being used to understand trends that include changes in the percentage of women screened, implications for specific age groups and overall test outcomes to find out if decreases in HPV are a result of vaccine use or to decreases in detection of HPV, since not all physicians screen for the disease.
“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,” says Nancy Bennett, MD, leader of the project and director of the Center for Community Health and Prevention. “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.”
In past years, the community has had difficulty getting clinical data to conduct analyses because state data can take a considerable amount of time to reach users, says Jill Eisenstein, President and CEO at Rochester RHIO.
With the RHIO, clinical data can be used, and it’s now been made available to the Center for Community Health and Prevention. The RHIO brings together all the clinical data in the region to enable comparisons regardless of where a patient had treatment. Now, for instance, clinicians have access to data to determine how many of their diabetic patients have their hemoglobin levels under control.
Researchers also have access to the data. A University of Rochester researcher got a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and asked for specific data to support a study into health navigators who work with the elderly, Eisenstein says. “We get real-time data that is more accurate than self-reported data.”
An HPV vaccination requires three injections for boys and girls, but many physicians don’t give all three, and there is a push to educate the clinicians. Even if fewer injections are given, the research shows that rates of cervical cancer are decreasing, so the vaccine is showing the power to affect cervical cancer without a complete series of treatments.
Now, Eisenstein wants to take the RHIO data into the fight against the opioid epidemic to see how health information exchanges can provide information to clinicians, researchers and others on how many patients are coming into the emergency department with an opioid overdose, and then later coming into another ED because of another overdose.
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