Timeliness of emergency room (ER) data is arguably its strongest attribute in terms of its contribution to disease surveillance. Timely data analyses may improve the efficacy of prevention and control measures. There are a number of studies that have looked at timeliness prior to the advent of Meaningful Use, and these studies note that ER data were not fast enough for them to be useful in real time2,3. However, the change in messaging practices in the Meaningful Use era potentially changes this. Other studies have shown that changes in processes and protocol can dramatically improve timeliness1,4 and this motivates the current study of timeliness to identify processes that can be changed to improve timeliness.
To explore the timeliness of emergency room surveillance data after the advent of federal Meaningful Use initiatives and determine potential areas for improvement.