In The News

Creating a Comprehensive Pediatric HIV/AIDS Database

Congratulations Dr. Patricia Emmanuel

The department of Pediatrics would like to congratulate Dr. Patricia Emmanuel on her newly awarded grant, "Special Projects of National Significance-Health Information Technology for Ryan White Part D Programs," which promises improved technological efficiency and improved quality of data collection and exchange for pediatric patients suffering from HIV/AIDS. This will be achieved through the use of advanced electronic networking technology; the project will establish an electronic data warehouse, which will forge electronic links and facilitate data exchange between separate yet interdependent programs focusing on pediatric HIV/AIDS care, including the USF Pediatric Infectious Diseases Division (USF PedsID), CAREWare (CW), and others.

In order to satisfy the purpose outlined above, the project is focused on four smaller goals. The first goal is to purchase wireless tablets, necessary to implementing real-time data entry and access to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) during the patient encounters in the clinic. This system upgrade will afford health care and social service providers immediate access to the most current and accurate information pertaining to the patient's health status, and will allow providers to make any necessary changes to the record without leaving the exam room. At present all exam rooms do not have computer terminals, and clinicians have to input new information into the EMR in separate locations.

The second goal is to electronically link the EMR with the PedsID Database, CAREWare. These links will be beneficial because all patient data can be accessed in within one electronic hub, rather than the current system of manually entering and retrieving client level data from multiple sources; while the EMR is electronic, currently clinical indicators and patient demographics required for client level data research and reporting are manually extracted and stored separately from the EMR.

The third goal is to build a link between the PedsID Database and the Ryan White Information System (RWIS), developed and maintained by Hillsborough County Health and Social Services, which administers the local Ryan White Part A funds used by PedsID to provide a set of services to HIV infected children and youth. Finally, the last goal involves initiating a one-way transfer between the CW database implemented by the USF Pediatrics department and the CW database maintained by the Florida Family Aids Network (FAN).

To maintain accuracy and high quality of data obtained, five specific indicators related to a given patient's health and social service status will be observed, including clinical encounter dates, viral load, CD4 counts, social work referrals, and any recent changes to insurance status. These innovations mean that providers and support staff will be able to provide more efficient care to HIV infected children, youth and their families. In sum, this pediatric initiative will greatly diminish redundant data entry within PedsID, thereby decreasing the number of personnel and hours currently required for patient care in the existing system. Moreover, this program will also serve as a model for other Ryan White programs nationwide—which HRSA now requires to streamline their data systems and conduct client level data reporting—in addition to establishing more efficient cross-program data transfers that are safe, reliable and secure.