WASHINGTON, D.C. - November 1, 2001 - Detection of possible bioterror events could be speeded by hours or days through an electronic disease surveillance system using existing medical and pharmaceutical claims data, Quintiles Transnational Executive Vice President John Russell said today at a House subcommittee hearing on bioterrorism preparedness.
Quintiles' sophisticated electronic healthcare monitoring system could be quickly modified to serve as a "national early warning system" for bioterrorism, Russell said in testimony before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
"Quintiles has the technology, infrastructure and expertise to help provide a faster and more complete signal of a bioterrorist event," Russell said. "Our current system, which tracks prescription drug use and disease incidents nationwide using de-identified electronic transaction data, could be modified to provide public health officials with automated alerts of possible bioterrorism events, and enhance their ability to analyze an event and quickly respond."
The nation's current bioterrorism alert system relies primarily on "human intelligence" reports by healthcare professionals. Federal officials are seeking ways to improve and augment existing capabilities. Russell said Quintiles' electronic monitoring system could give health officials improved capabilities without adding significant new reporting burdens on healthcare providers.
"An important feature of this system would be its ability to monitor and report indicators of potential bioterrorist events automatically, electronically and rapidly," Russell said. "The electronic claims payment system - the process by which healthcare providers get compensated for providing services - is automatic, in place and national in scope."
Russell was one of six individuals to testify at the hearing, "A Review of Federal Bioterrorism Preparedness Programs: Building an Early Warning Public Health Surveillance System."
Quintiles' drug and disease database generates statistical analyses of pharmaceutical product use across hundreds of specific conditions and more than 8,000 prescribed drugs. The system uses de-identified pharmacy and medical claims data to create a database covering more than 100 million anonymous patient lives. De-identified health information does not identify individuals.
Quintiles Transnational is the world's leading provider of information, technology and services to help bring new medicines to patients faster and improve healthcare. Quintiles Transnational is a member of the S&P 500 and Fortune 1000. For more information visit the company's Web site at www.quintiles.com.