More than data entry

Atlas Development Corp. designed Visual Confidential Morbidity Report using the Cache post-relational database technology developed by InterSystems Corp., with an overlay of Visual Basic software. Los Angeles County owns the software code and has an exclusive marketing agreement with Atlas.

Stephen Atlas, vice president of Atlas Development, said the previous system, called the Automated Vital Statistics System, was simply a data-entry system that lacked any workflow methodology. Visual CMR, which operates on a wide-area network, however, doesn't allow a case to be closed unless all pertinent information is entered in the required fields.

For example, a nurse entering data on a hepatitis case would not be permitted to close the entry and send it to a public health official if the data is incomplete.

"So what'll happen is at the end when they're going to close it and confirm the case, it will say, 'Sorry, you can't close this case as hepatitis.' So there's all this stuff that saves them from having problems and it sort of protects them," Atlas said.

Another feature of the system is the Advanced Results Notification and Online Delivery system, which doctors can use to receive alerts of abnormal lab results via e-mail, mobile phone, pager or other handheld device. Internally, the county health department can use it to communicate outbreak alerts and other critical information as well.

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