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CDC Base Case

By Doug Bartholomew  |  Posted 2006-03-06 Print this article Print

The federal agency says its real-time data gathering can ward off a potential flu pandemic. Not every health-care provider is convinced.

CDC Base Case Headquarters: 1600 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30333

Phone: (404) 639-3311

Business: Federal agency charged with preventing the spread of diseases.

Associate Director, Technology: Barry Rhodes

Annual Budget for BioSense Project: $50 million

Challenge: Establish a system to detect, track and share information with hospitals if there's a flu pandemic.


  • Get at least another 300 hospitals to transmit patient data by year-end, in addition to 33 online as of Jan. 1, 2006.
  • Obtain reports within 15 minutes, instead of two to three days.
  • Ensure that the number of U.S. bird flu cases remains at zero.

    Centers for Disease Control: Hurry Up and Wait
    The federal agency has built a system to more quickly collect and share information with hospitals if there is a widespread outbreak of an infectious disease—whether it's the avian flu or another health threat. However, some hospitals are resisting the project.
    Hospitals in CDC Network 0* 33 300+
    Method of Reporting Incidents to CDC Formats for reporting diagnoses vary HL7 health-care reporting standard for participating hospitals HL7 health-care reporting format
    Timeliness of Hospital Reports to CDC 2 to 3 days Every 15 minutes for participating hospitals Every 15 minutes
    Source: CDC *does not include hospitals run by veterans affairs, navy and army. They currently report the number of patients with infectious diseases every day

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    Doug Bartholomew is a career journalist who has covered information technology for more than 15 years. A former senior editor at IndustryWeek and InformationWeek, his freelance features have appeared in New York magazine and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.
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