Mobile EMR Use for Epidemiological Surveillance on a Medical Service Trip in Honduras: A Pilot Study

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DOI: 10.4236/etsn.2016.51001    1,743 Downloads   2,017 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Rationale: Medical treatment on short-term primary care medical service trips (MSTs) is generally symptom-based and supplemented by point-of-care testing. This pilot study contributes to the effective planning for such austere settings based on predicted symptomology. Objective: We aimed to prospectively document the epidemiology of patients seen during two low-resource clinics on a MST in Honduras and apply predefined case definitions adapted from guidelines used by international healthcare organizations (e.g. World Health Organization). Methods: An observational design was used to track the epidemiology during two clinics on an MST in Limon, Honduras in March 2015. The QuickChart mobile electronic medical record (EMR) application was piloted to document diagnoses according to predefined case definitions. Results: The most commonly diagnosed syndromes were upper respiratory complaints (20.19%), nonspecific abdominal complaints (20.19%), general pain (15.38%), hypertension (9.62%), pruritus (6.73%), and asthma/ COPD (4.81%). The case definitions accounted for 94% of all complaints and diagnoses on the brigade. Discussion: The distribution of common patient diagnoses on this MST was similar to that which had been reported elsewhere. The use of broader symptom-based case definitions for epidemiologic surveillance could also facilitate the syndromic management of patients seen on MSTs, and improve the consistency of treatment offered. Conclusion: Case definitions for common syndromes on primary care MSTs may be a feasible method of standardizing patient management. Preliminary use of the QuickChart EMR was acceptable for documentation of epidemiology in the field. Further study is necessary to investigate the reliability of syndromic diagnostic criteria between different clinicians and in a variety of MST settings.

Cite this paper

Dainton, C. and Chu, C. (2016) Mobile EMR Use for Epidemiological Surveillance on a Medical Service Trip in Honduras: A Pilot Study. E-Health Telecommunication Systems and Networks, 5, 1-7. doi: 10.4236/etsn.2016.51001.

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