Improving Public Health and Communicable Disease Control with Health Information Exchange

How the largest county in the U.S. launched an innovative prevention effort using ADT alerts and longitudinal patient records to coordinate care for vulnerable pregnant women

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health (SBCDPH) works in partnership with their communities to promote and improve health, wellness, safety, and quality of life in San Bernardino County, the largest geographic county in the U.S. The Communicable Disease Section (CDS) of SBCDPH is responsible for disease surveillance, infection control measures, and education to reduce or manage the incidence of infectious disease. The team, which includes RN case managers, provides a wide range of personalized services, such as working directly with residents who have communicable disease conditions and referring them to health care providers.

Since 2013, San Bernardino County CDS has seen a 366% increase of reported pregnant women exposed to syphilis and an 891% increase of congenital syphilis (CS), when a baby is born with syphilis passed by the mother during pregnancy. In 2019, the county ranked seventh in California for CS, double the incidence rate of California overall, and more than four times the incidence rate in the U.S.

Proactive opportunities for prevention of CS include early maternal screening and adequate treatment, but facilitating timely communication of information between public health agencies and health care providers is a major challenge, often resulting in inadequate treatment prior to and after delivery of the newborn.

MX Notify and MX Access helped San Bernardino County take preventative action much faster than traditional methods of data exchange, like fax or email, between hospitals and public health departments, improving their efforts to control CS and saving valuable time (30 to 60 minutes per case).