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Timeliness study of radiology and microbiology reports in a healthcare system for biosurveillance.

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RODS Laboratory, Center of Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


We developed a framework to measure the timeliness of two data types--radiology and microbiology reports--for detection of diseases such as inhalational anthrax (IA) in a healthcare system. We measured the timeliness of a data type as the delay between patient registration in an emergency department (ED) and receipt of data type by a biosurveillance system. We also determined the lower and upper bounds of median delay time (LMDT and UMDT) for the two data types to be available for detection of a single IA case. Based on the data received from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health System, the LMDT time was 1.5 days and UMDT time was 6.4 days. The study provides a range of delay time for detection of a single IA case within a healthcare system, and it may benefit outbreak planning and outbreak model simulation.

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