Completing Death Certificate Within an Electronic Medical Record

jacob tripp presenting at 2013 naphsis conference 700
By Jacob Tripp, Senior Medical Informaticist, Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research

As a Senior Medical Informaticist at Intermountain Healthcare, I find my time divided between a variety of projects. Given my programming background (Computer Science, University of Utah, 2003), I have been fortunate to find projects that allow me to continue to do a fair share of programming along with the study design and data analysis that come with informatics. A fair amount of my work is in the Infectious Disease area, as my boss, Scott Evans, has slowly allowed me to take over some of the work that he has pioneered, including applications for isolation precautions, and adverse drug events. I also am currently working with the Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative, which came as an outgrowth of my PhD research (Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah, 2009), which looked at the use of automated messaging to inform primary care physicians of their patients' hospital and ED visits. In addition, I've worked together with colleagues at the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to develop a module and interface that allows Intermountain physicians to complete their portion of death certificates from within our EMRs (both HELP2 and ECIS).

June 4th and 5th, I traveled to Phoenix to demonstrate our Death Certificate interface at the annual conference of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) and Vital Statistics Cooperative Program (VSCP). In coordination with Jeff Duncan and Leisa Finch, of the UDOH Office of Vital Records and Statistics, I demonstrated our Death Certificate module and the associated HL7 interface. The demonstration was part of the "Electronic Health Record Connect-a-thon", where one side of the room had demonstrations showing birth certificates being generated by commercially-vended EHRs and then sent to a state health department, and the other side of the room featuring our demonstration of a physician's portion of a death certificate being sent and merged into UDOH's death certificate registration system (EDEN). Our death certificate module is currently the only existing EHR module allowing the electronic transmission of death certificate data to a government registration system.

Over the course of 5 hours, we were able to give our demonstration and answer questions for 18 small groups (ranging from 3 to 10 in number), as well as receiving helpful feedback on future areas of improvement. Jeff Duncan also gave a presentation in Wednesday morning's plenary session that included extensive discussion of the project.

For more information on how Intermountain Healthcare and the Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research are striving for improved care visits our medical informatics site.