Disease Prevention Efforts on World Malaria Day

April 25th, 2017 - By Matt Garnese

This year’s theme for World Malaria Day is “End Malaria for Good”. The efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and others helped bring new cases of malaria down by 21% between 2010-2015. Much of the work preventing the disease is being done in Sub-saharan Africa and Latin America, with very few cases in the US. Still, about half of the total world population is potentially vulnerable to malaria. It’s important to remember when traveling internationally, either business or pleasure, the necessary preventative measures to minimize your chances of contracting the disease.

Vaccination Databases, Health Information Exchanges, and Interoperability

Vaccines are especially important in the effort to end disease, both when worldwide and locally. During 2016-2017, the influenza vaccine reduced the number of flu-related medical visits by half. Promoting the use of vaccines is part of how organizations like the CDC and WHO hope to end malaria. To facilitate easy access to vaccines and treatment, Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) and vaccination databases connect different Electronic Health Record (EHR) technologies. Any doctor who has access to the database can acquire vaccination information about a patient to determine the best course of action administering vaccines. HIEs also enable patients to easily access health care services with continuity across primary care, hospitals specialists, as well as pharmacy and laboratory services. Ideally, the EHRs in these different areas are connected and have interoperability to not only transfer information but to access and process it.

Initiatives for Occupational Medicine EHRs

As mentioned in the introduction, the risk of contracting malaria in the US is very low. That said, people who work in areas of the US such as the southern states, depending on the work, may have a potential occupational risk of malaria. For US citizens working in multinational corporations, there are often requirements to travel or transfer to an office in a foreign country in a region that is at risk. Occupational medicine is concerned with employee safety and workplace productivity. Employers that provide Occupational Medicine do so in order to protect their employees from risks such as the above and to provide easy access to proper care for employees.Occupational and environmental EHR software plays an integral part in facilitating occupational health, and finding an EHR that can optimize the workplace is essential to a functional business. EHR software, such as PrognoCIS’s Occupational EHR, deliver the specific templates, workflow, and content to improve productivity and lower company cost. Read our occupational medicine case study to see examples of how PrognoCIS can improve your company’s overall workflow.

Initiatives in Environmental Health

In 1999, the World Health Organization defined Environmental Health as the aspects of human health and disease that are influenced by environmental factors. This concept is very important when considering a disease like malaria, which is influenced by environmental factors. According to a WHO study, the factors that affect the spread of malaria are often a product of human activities. The study reads: “The proportion of malaria attributable to modifiable environmental factors (42%) is associated with policies and practices regarding land use, deforestation, water resource management, settlement sitting and modified house design, e.g. improved drainage. For the purposes of this study, the use of insecticide-treated nets was not considered an environmental management measure.” Environmental Health seeks to set policies and practices which will minimize the environmental impact of human activities reduce the risk of diseases like malaria.

Ending Malaria and Other Diseases for Good

If organizations like WHO and the CDC continue their progress, we may see a day in which malaria is eliminated. The effort to prevent malaria has been successful in recent years. Many preventable diseases worldwide may come to an end if health organizations are empowered to do their part in the prevention process, especially through the use of EHR. EHR technology helps practices optimize their workflows and also provides interoperability to ensure continuity across different types of care facilities, like primary care, hospitals, and laboratories. Because of its interoperability, doctors can access HIEs and vaccination databases and provide the best possible care to their patients, and further the efforts of the CDC and the WHO in disease prevention.

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