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Feasibility Testing: Using a Survey Participant's Responses and Electronic Health Record

In two funded demonstration projects, BRFSS and its research partners are testing the feasibility of using electronic tools and electronic health records (EHRs) to collect and assess respondents’ self-reported health data. In the first demonstration pilot—a collaboration between the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Centers (CHC)—the CHCs will administer 500 patient surveys electronically, using a research technique called respondent-driven sampling. With a patient’s consent, the completed survey will be subsequently linked to his or her EHR, according to a medical record number. An anonymous data set will be created that contains both unlinked and linked patient survey data. Researchers will compare each patient’s survey responses to the corresponding information in his or her EHR, in order to evaluate the validity and reliability of EHR data for monitoring population health. A longer-term objective is to provide information needed to develop a general framework to conduct behavioral surveillance that integrates the best information from a variety of specific sources.

The second demonstration pilot is a collaboration between the CDC, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC) Institute. HPHC will be funded by ASTHO to demonstrate the feasibility of collecting self-reported health data using electronic tools and automatically comparing results with patients’ EHR data. A Web-based survey will be developed and hosted on an Electronic Support for Public health (ESP) server. Automated reporting tools will be created to summarize patients’ answers and compare them statistically to the patients’ EHR data. This demonstration pilot will be conducted in an ESP environment and filled in with synthetic data and, once created, would be portable to live ESP instances serving medical practices in Massachusetts and Ohio. Results from this demonstration pilot will be used to make recommendations for subsequent demonstration projects using real patients that focus solely on Institutional Review Board issues, patient recruitment, and analysis.

Both demonstration pilots are estimated to be completed by the end of 2013.

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