Pediatricians at Indiana University deploy tablet-based screening software to improve patient care

By Mike Miliard
05:19 pm

Digital Health Solutions, a startup launched by two Indiana University School of Medicine professionals, is commercializing software it said will help pediatricians better target care for their patients.

The tool, called Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation, or CHICA, augments electronic health records to help physicians better assess patient risks, identify problems earlier and better document care quality. It was developed by DHS President Stephen Downs, MD, section director of Children's Health Service Research at IU, and Tammy Dugan, senior software developer at IU and chief technology officer of Digital Health Solutions.

The pediatric population "doesn't get as much attention because of the reimbursement structures in hospitals," Dugan said in a statement.

By licensing CHICA through the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., the aim is to offer pediatricians a tool that can help improve care for children.

The technology works by first screening families in office waiting rooms via an electronic tablet that asks 20 questions.

"Based on the family's responses, the software uses its prioritization process to select the most important issues for the physician to address during the visit," Downs added. "The family can provide information on a wide range of topics, including general preventive counseling, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, domestic violence, iron deficiency, lead exposure, maternal depression, tuberculosis and more. It also allows physicians to alert patients to problems that may otherwise be overlooked."

When physicians access a patient's EHR, the embedded link connects them with CHICA.

"Once the doctors have checked all the boxes, indicating how they responded to the alerts, the information is submitted as a block of text to EHR software that can then be incorporated into the provider's note, thereby streamlining clinical documentation," said Dugan.

"Payers of health care are looking for ways for providers to demonstrate superior-quality care," Downs said. "The system captures data that improves and demonstrates the quality of care, which could be used to improve reimbursement. It also collects patient-reported information that can't be captured any other way."


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