Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority and the New Jersey Health and Senior Services Department have been named winners of the first round of the 2008 Nicholas E. Davies awards announced by the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Winners of the Davies Public Health Award, given to organizations using health information technology and management techniques to improve the health of a defined population, were named Wednesday during the Public Health Information Network Conference sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Davies award winners for IT excellence in other fields will be announced late next month, according to a HIMSS spokeswoman.
The Cherokee (N.C.) Indian Hospital Authority provides healthcare for more than 10,000 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. According to a HIMSS release, the authority saw improvements in 10 different measures in 2007 over a 2004 baseline, including tobacco-use screening, from 43% to 80%, and domestic violence screening, from 1% to 80%. The clinical IT system used by the authority and developed by the Indian Health Service, called the Resource and Patient Management System, or RPMS, is a derivative of the Veterans Health Information System and Technology Architecture system, or VistA, developed by the Veterans Affairs Department.
The Trenton-based New Jersey Health and Senior Services Department set up a communicable disease reporting and surveillance system that serves more than 900 public health workers in 114 county and municipal health departments as a tool for required reporting and managing information of communicable diseases. The Web-based system was developed by the state and is based on the CDC's updated Public Health Information Network/National Electronic Disease Surveillance System specifications, according to a New Jersey spokeswoman. One significant instance when the system came into play was during a 2006, multistate outbreak of illnesses related to an E. coli bacteria strain. New Jersey public health staff members were able to customize data fields within the system to include a suspected restaurant chains exposure history and the most commonly identified symptoms associated with exposure to the strain, according to the release.
The award is named for the late Atlanta physician informaticist Nicholas E. Davies, a member of the Committee on Improving the Patient Record of the Institute of Medicine who was killed in a plane crash in 1991.