determine if they are lost to follow-up versus “lost to documentation”. Emphasis will be placed on accurate data entry and improved tracking of children.
In the past six months, the state audiologists were trained on entering diagnostic information in the database. Additionally, an audiology user group, facilitated by OZ Data Systems has been established to facilitate easier data entry. These measures, along with the activities outlined in this grant will lead to improved reporting of the number of infants lost to follow-up between outpatient screening and audiological assessment. This information will also be required by the State’s EHDI mandate which goes into effect in January 2008.
Tracking of infants from the time of diagnosis to entry into early intervention services will be emphasized in the next grant cycle. The Early Intervention/Infant Learning Program (EI/ILP) is in another division of the Department of Health and Social Services. At this time, the EI/ILP is not reporting name data to the EHDI Program for matching purposes. The EHDI Program has drafted a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with EI/ILP to receive data on children with hearing loss who are receiving EI services. This process has been affected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy ACT (FERPA) and a plan for obtaining releases of information to collect this data will be addressed in the MOA. According to the State EI/ILP for children born in 2006, twelve are enrolled in Part C services under the category of “Hearing Impairment, Significant Progressive”.
Hospital screeners were requested to provide primary care provider (PCP) information for documentation of a medical home; however data entry has not been consistent among the facilities. When the legislation goes into effect in January 2008, it will require all facilities to enter this information in the database. In Alaska, it is important to note, a medical home is not limited to a physician, but may be a public health nurse, a nurse practitioner, a physician’s assistant or even a community health aide or practitioner. Rural clinics are often staffed by these mid-level practitioners.
In 2003, the State EHDI Program surveyed audiologists statewide to identify the type and availability of audiology diagnostic services for infants. At that time, survey results indicated