September 21, 2009 - Emergency Medical Associates is using SAP AG business intelligence to pinpoint the movement of the H1N1 virus and alert federal organizations and emergency medical departments to patterns of outbreak. In turn, hospitals will be able to staff according to swine flu trends and accommodate upticks in patient visits.

EMA provides emergency services to hospitals and health systems in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. During the H1N1 outbreak in April 2009, the organization saw the potential for tracking influenza infection patterns among its emergency rooms, homing in on information such as the number of visits for the month versus past months; patient-walkout percentages; time of walk-in compared to time of admittance; and how long it took to treat and release or treat and admit a patient. Physicians have online access to this information in real time with reporting and analysis software from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio, and use the data to respond quickly to changing public health conditions.

"By drilling down into specific syndromes in our patient reports, we can pinpoint spikes in fever and flu-like symptoms that are swine flu indicators," said Jonathan Rothman, director of Data Management, EMA in the announcement. "Then we compare it with our large archive of historical information to figure out where we stand. When statistics for a particular symptom exceed standard deviation, we know we've got a problem on our hands.”

From there, EMA can perform due diligence to notify local, state and federal organizations such as the CDC about swine flu growth patterns and geographic spreading of the virus through forecasting that can be distributed to the public. “By having the right amount of medical resources available to patients in the most urgent times,” says Rothman, “we can provide proper treatment and help mitigate the spreading of the virus."

“EMA’s initiative is further justification for the increased use of business intelligence in health care," says Franz Aman, vice president product marketing, SAP BusinessObjects. "The best practices of this project can be extended to not only assist health care providers, but also government and healthcare authorities to track and respond to future pandemics at a regional, national or international level,"  Aman says.

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