October 30, 2009 By Elaine Rundle
To help track H1N1 trends, Rhode Island health officials are receiving electronic prescription data to identify outbreaks based on age groups and ZIP codes. The state receives e-prescription data from retail pharmacies through an electronic link with Surescripts, an e-prescriptions network. State health officials view the data, which excludes personal information, to identify increases in Tamiflu prescriptions or other anti-viral medications.
Surescripts uses the pharmacies' data to report how much Tamiflu and other anti-virals are being dispensed to patients and categorizes the information by ZIP code and age group. The reports are sent to the state every two weeks and the data excludes personal information, said Amy Zimmerman, chief of health information technology for the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Go to Emergency Management's Web site to learn more about Rhode Island's use of e-prescription data to identify H1N1 trends.