eHealth Initiative to Release Guidelines Outlining Use of Internet to Fight Bioterrorism
eHealth Initiative, a group of more than 50 companies promoting the use of technology in health care, will release guidelines today outlining how the government can use the Internet to fight bioterrorism, Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times reports. The initiative, which includes IBM and GE Medical Systems, suggests that a "Web-based communications system" linking hospitals, medical centers, public health and law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical companies and doctors' offices would help the government's response to bioterrorism. The group wants physicians and emergency rooms to have access to a database that would include information on signs of infection related to possible bioterrorism agent, how to treat symptoms and where to locate treatments. The database would also allow doctors to immediately notify appropriate government agencies, local authorities and public health officials of potential bioterrorism cases. The database would build on hospitals' and federal agencies' existing technology and would include information on cases of anthrax and other bioterrorism-related diseases, drugs prescribed, symptoms and lab results. According to eHealth Initiative's leaders, the country has not had any "real test" of the public health system's ability to respond to bioterrorist attacks because recent infections have involved a "limited number" of cases (Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times, 10/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.