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Dr. Oz Health Event To Feature EHRs

Practice Fusion's electronic health record software provides data collection, real-time analytics, helping TV show as it screens 1,000 people in one day for common diseases.

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9 Health IT Tools Patients Should Understand
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TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the popular Dr. Oz Show, has held mass health screenings before, but one scheduled this month will be the first to incorporate electronic health records (EHRs) and clinical analytics.

The nationally syndicated television show will bring free software from ambulatory EHR vendor Practice Fusion to its "15 Minute Physical" event May 19 in Philadelphia. There, Oz, along with Temple University Health System and disease management services company Alere, plans to provide 1,000 people with lipid panels, blood-sugar screenings, and vitals measurements in order to raise awareness of heart disease and diabetes.

"In order to see 1,000 [patients], we realized this had to be done paperless," Michael C. Hoaglin, clinical director for the show, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "We used to do this on paper, and it took a really long time."

Now, the EHR will not only help Oz and volunteer clinicians from Temple see patients more efficiently, the system will be analyzing data in real time during the testing to help determine averages and trends for the group. "[Practice Fusion] is showing the power of big data and the power of analytics," Hoaglin said. The EHR also will be able to generate summaries for patients to take back to their primary care physicians.

[ There's almost no end to the amount of useful medical information available online. To spy seven valuable resources, see 7 Health Education Tools For Patients. ]

Although the "15 Minute Physical" is targeting relatively low-income neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, Hoaglin expects many of the 1,000 participants to have regular doctors, based on Oz's experience at previous screening events. "A big part of this is engaging patients [already] in the system," he said. "We think that a lot of people don't know their numbers and don't know their health status."

Registration to participate opened April 30, and the show had filled all 1,000 spots before the end of the week, according to Hoaglin. Alere's portable laboratory equipment will run lipid panels--to determine HDL and LDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides (fatty acids) in the blood--and test glucose levels on the spot, and the clinicians also will take blood pressure and measure waist size. The EHR will accept and analyze the different biomarkers to help determine each person's risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, then Temple staff will consult with patients to determine whether they need to make lifestyle changes or follow up with their regular physicians.

The idea is to demonstrate to the people of Philadelphia and viewers around the country that a brief encounter with a physician and a battery of simple tests can have a profound impact on preventing and treating chronic illnesses. "The Dr. Oz Show really is a teaching show," said Tim Sullivan, director of publicity for the program. "What we're really doing is a demonstration" of how easy it can be to get screened for common diseases.

Since last fall, more than 1 million viewers have responded to Oz's "Transformation Nation" challenge to get healthy, know their health history, and have a regular physician, according to the show's producers.

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has tried to portray himself as a champion of public health and disease prevention. Though the city will have no direct role in the Dr. Oz Show event, Sullivan said the show will share aggregated test results with local health officials.

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

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