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The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) is at the forefront of medical technology in that it has invested heavily in health information technology. They have taken up an initiative in prenatal care, collect data on chronic conditions and have a state-of-the-art radiology and imaging department. Photo: www.bizjournals.com

Investment in Health Information Technology 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, did a study of Philadelphia’s health information systems. The study has indicated that the PDPH has been revolutionizing the healthcare industry by being at the forefront of information technology and electronic medical records. 

The PDPH has established Electronic Health Records (EHR) for eight community health centers that serve 90,000 low-income residents in Philadelphia. The sites get linked electronically to other ambulatory care facilities, as well as hospital-based physicians located in Philadelphia. 

Furthermore, the PDPH has made it easier to track data that will improve the quality as well as the safety of clinical services provided to its residents. PDPH and its partners have selected an EHR vendor. Their partners are within as well as outside the public health system. 

They work with the Philadelphia Prison Systems (PPS) Medical Operations Group. Additionally, they work with federally qualified health centers, ambulatory health services, the county nursing home, and the Office of Innovation and Technology. The PDPH’s intent is to assist with the delivery process for inmates by tracking the amount of direct care services provided. They want to make sure that detainees get sufficient care. 

Prenatal Care Initiative 

The PDPH formed a partnership with the Prenatal Care Laboratory Information Exchange Initiative. The goal is to assist in reducing the administrative burden. As a result, it will improve the overall quality of the clinical services for pregnant women. The PDPH and its partners are working to establish a city-wide prenatal care information system. This will make it easier for all delivery hospitals to access patient information. This gets done with secure access to the files. 

Data on Chronic Conditions 

Among the PDPH’s initiatives is putting together a complete data repository for a set of chronic conditions. They have named it the Chronic Disease Data Repository. The initiative got funded by the CDC in the hopes of gathering more information on morbidity. They will start off by focusing on hypertension. 

Radiology and Imaging 

The PDPH has a state-of-the-art radiology and imaging department called the Einstein Department of Diagnostic Radiology. It is quite advanced with its diagnostics. They are capable of demonstrating still and moving image tissues with precision. They can accomplish the same with bones and organs. Their diagnosis and treatment are accurate as a result. 

The radiology department uses a Computerized Picture Archive and Communications System (PACS). PACS Radiology enables them to get paperless and filmless access to patient images that they then pass on to physicians. Radiologists who are in other locations get the option to consult with the team. They are also involved with the latest research and clinical trials that will help to identify and provide new therapies, medications, and treatment techniques. 

Challenges of National Healthcare Policy 

The PDPH would need continuous federal funding for it to succeed in the future. For that reason, they are monitoring the national healthcare policy. At the same time, they are questioning the long-term impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act. They do not know if it will get repealed by the majority representation in Congress; neither do they know if they would continue to get funding. 

Additionally, the PDPH are also questioning the status of the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Despite the uncertainty of the EHR system, Philadelphia residents will benefit from the program. 

In conclusion, Philadelphia is leading in medical technology due to its investment in Health Information Technology, Prenatal Care Initiative, and the collection of data on chronic conditions. They also have a state-of-the-art Radiology and Imaging department. Although the EHR system is a success, they face the uncertainty of continued federal funding.

 

Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

 

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Photo: www.bizjournals.com