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Information Technology Can Help Clinicians Respond to Bioterrorism Events

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Press Release Date: August 20, 2002

Adding clinical practice guidelines and more current data on bioterrorism-related illnesses to existing databases of health information systems is one of several ways to help prepare clinicians for a possible bioterorrism event, according to a new report sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Produced by the AHRQ Evidence-Based Practice Center (EPC) at the University of California at San Francisco-Stanford University, the new report also finds that efforts to link decision support systems for diagnosing, treating, and preventing bioterrorism illnesses to other hospital information systems would substantially reduce the data entry burden.

The report, Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response: Use of Information Technologies and Decision Support Systems, is part of AHRQ's $5 million bioterrorism research portfolio announced in October 2000. The portfolio includes research projects that examine the clinical training and ability of front-line medical staff—including primary care providers, emergency departments, and hospitals—to detect and respond to a bioterrorist threat. Other projects assess and improve linkages between the health system, local and state public health departments, and emergency preparedness units.

A summary of the report is available online, by calling the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295, or by sending an E-mail to Copies of the full report will be available in September.

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Farah Englert, (301) 427-1865 (


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