A regional partnership in Colorado is using real-time data from electronic health records to help doctors, public health officials and researchers study healthcare disparities among communities, supplemented with the state’s health information exchange.

Physicians, health departments and researchers can query a healthcare question and get data from multiple health systems connected via a series of virtual data warehouses to assist in tracking population health trends. The program is called the Colorado Health Observation Regional Data Services, or CHORDS.

For example, a researcher can ask how many women ages 18 to 34 in a certain ZIP code are tobacco users. The query is submitted, a decision is made to answer, and the data is sent to the researcher.

“CHORDS is a distributed electronic health record network with providers connecting to and providing information to public health agencies and researchers in a federated model,” says Emily McCormick, a senior epidemiologist at the Denver Public Health Department.

The program includes creation of linkage tables so when physicians or researchers ask a question other stakeholders are responding, which ensures the physician or researcher becomes part of the system, explains Kate Horle, chief operating officer at CORHIO, the HIE serving Colorado.

A network like Colorado’s, which is still building out to serve the entire state, is possible and scalable, and the model can be replicated elsewhere, McCormick says. She and Horle will further explain the program during an educational session at HIMSS18.

“Folks consider public health research as challenging, and it is,” Horle says. “This brings information together in a way that brings stakeholders together.”

Session 291, “Harnessing EHR data for local population health monitoring,” is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on March 9 in room Defino 4002.

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