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Seed Grant Profile


2006-2007 Program

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Integrating Medical and Laboratory Information Systems for Discovering and Analyzing Risk Factors for Resistant Bacterial Infection

The project involves a two-phase study to address the high rates of infection by a specific resistant staphylococcal bacterium in children who live in the Atlanta area.

The first phase involves looking at children who received care from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) at Egleston, Hughes Spalding, and Scottish Rite hospitals and have a positive culture due to methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). We will compare these children with those who have a methicillin sensitive Staphylococcus aureus culture (MSSA). The outcome of the study in this phase consists of three components: (1) Develop the methodology to extract and integrate the variables of interest from the medical information and laboratory databases at these locations so that comparisons can be made between those children who are infected by the resistant bacteria to those children who are not. (2) Develop efficient information monitoring techniques to prospectively identify patients at the time of admission to the hospital, who have had a history of resistant staphylococcal infection. (3) Additionally, provide automatic integration of relevant medical and laboratory variables in real-time for these patients. Another result of this phase of investigation is to develop an automated system of determining whether or not patients are infected by a MRSA strain originating from the hospital or from the community at large.

In the second phase of the research, there is a plan to geo-code databases on all children who have positive cultures for Staphylococcus aureus from January 2002 through December 2006 from the hospitals and use geographic information system tools to determine which risk factors may contribute to infection by these resistant staphylococcal strains. For example, presence of clustering of patients infected by MRSA will be identified based on the mapping of these patients' residences. Incidence of infection and other population information to determine certain risk factors can be derived by applying GIS to data obtained from US Census Bureau.

The results generated by this research will directly and indirectly impact the delivery of healthcare and assist with the development of health policy guidelines as it pertains to infection control and healthcare quality within these three children's hospital sites.

Investigators: Lilly Cheng Immergluck (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Morehouse School of Medicine, Pediatrics) and Ling Liu (GT, Computing)

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