Electronic case reporting (eCR) to state and local public health agencies is a critical tool for COVID-19 outbreak management and response. Currently, while eCR was in Meaningful Use Stage 3 and is now in Promoting Interoperability, it is incompletely implemented by EHRs and health systems.
To address this issue and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, eCR leadership at the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a strategy for rapid implementation called “eCR Now”.
The strategy has important elements for EHRs that have already been implementing eCR and also for EHRs that have not yet developed an eCR implementation – all to support automated eCR for COVID-19. It is important that these capabilities be put into place even as the pandemic curve flattens or declines so as to better manage the ongoing suppression of this virus and help prevent flare-ups and recurrence in the fall.
eCR Now includes three elements in its approach:
A new cohort-based COVID-19 rapid eCR implementation process for EHRs that currently support eCR
Epic has streamlined onboarding
An initial California cohort is in process
Eliminates manual entry without burden on healthcare providers or PH
A new “eCR Now” FHIR app that other EHR vendors can rapidly implement to automate COVID-19 eCR in their installed systems
The expectation is that FHIR APIs are available as part of the EHR
Independent of any EHR software releases
Queries the FHIR server (on encounter open or close) for data matching the trigger codes
Outputs the CDA version of the eCR report
Leverages the AIMS platform for distribution
Engaging EHR vendors for distribution and integration
Initial version should be available May 1
The extension of the existing eHealth Exchange policy framework for eCR to many more networks, EHRs, and health systems through a developing Carequality eCR implementation guide
Any provider on the eHealth Exchange can implement eCR without any other agreements
eCR Now needs:
Elevate awareness of eCR Now and the app
Can be a broadcast or targeted approach
Cooperation with EHR vendors
Participation in the May virtual Connectathon
Focus of Public Health HL7 activities that are in progress