Public health departments have a strong interest in monitoring the incidence, care, and complications of gestational diabetes, as it is associated with poor outcomes for infants and increased risk of diabetes type II for mothers. Gestational diabetes rates are also a possible early marker for changes in the incidence of diabetes type II in the general population. However, diabetes is not generally a reportable condition and therefore, public health surveillance is limited to periodic telephone surveys (subject to self-report inaccuracies), sponsored clinical examinations (expensive, small sample size, no information about processes of care), and occasional research studies. Automated analysis of electronic health record data is a promising method to complement existing surveillance tools with longitudinal, continually updated, clinically rich data derived from large populations. We describe a pilot project to automatically survey electronic health record data in order to identify cases of gestational diabetes, describe their patterns of care and complications, and report summary data to the state health department.
To develop an electronic, prospective surveillance system to describe the incidence, care, and complications of gestational diabetes using live electronic health record data from a large defined population.