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Nutrition Informatics Blog

Allergies Panel at AMIA Fall Symposium

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It is not uncommon for us to collaborate within our profession; it becomes a logical sequence to unearthing answers and reaching our goals.  Less frequently, we step outside our profession and mix disciplines and talents to form a more global vision.  Such is the case with the panel presentation which will occur at this year’s American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Annual Symposium in Washington, DC on October 22-26, 2011.  (I also love the focus: “Improving Health: Informatics and IT Changing the World”—it seems like there should be a song to go with this!)

There is a great story behind how this panel came to be.  Discussions around the Meaningful Use Stage 1 requirement that eligible providers report “non-medication allergies” launched into multiple conference calls where we tried to determine the terminology and standard for all allergies (with a focus on food allergies.)  While researching the literature, I ran across Dr. Russell Leftwich’s contributions to the EHR side of allergies.  Coincidentally, Russ and I had met at an AMIA Roundtable discussion where we happened to sit next to each other.  I contacted him and over the past 8 months, he has participated on multiple calls to determine what needs to occur to assure that food allergies (and environmental allergies) are “kept together” in the EHR—both from a process and functionality standpoint.  Russ also was instrumental in bringing together the American College of Allergy, Immunology and Asthma, the American Academy of Allergy, Immunology and Asthma, and ADA for a collaborative letter expressing concern to ONC for preliminary Stage 2 comments. 

Elaine Ayres, as Chair of ADA’s Nutrition Informatics Committee (2010-2011), was actively involved in Health Level Seven (HL-7) work related to nutrition.  In fact, she and Russ had attended the same HL7 Meetings.

Fast forward a few months, many discussions and here is the topic in the category of Data Integration and Exchange is: Allergies—Issues Related to Interoperability for Patient Care and Research.   The panelists all have been in on the discussion of this critical area, so it should be a wonderful expose on allergy data and what should occur next:

Elaine Ayres, MS, RD (Deputy Chief, Laboratory for Informatics Development National Institutes of Health)

Jim Cimino, MD (Chief, Laboratory for Informatics Development National Institutes of Health)

Stanley Huff, MD, Professor, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Intermountain Health Care)

Charles Jaffee, MD, PhD (Chief Executive Officer, Health Level Seven)

Russell Leftwich, MD (Chief Medical Information Officer, Tennessee Office of e-Health)

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