System to quickly alert state healthcare providers about disease outbreaks

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The Indiana State Department of Health announced Thursday they would implement a new alert system, which will communicate urgent public health messages to healthcare providers statewide.

“As demonstrated by the several public health emergencies this year, such as measles, salmonella and more recently fungal meningitis, the ability to instantly communicate with providers is critical,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D. “We believe this new partnership with Medscape will enhance existing channels of communication and offer yet another way to reach health care providers with urgent health information when needed.”

Through a partnership with Medscape from WebMD, a top source of health information for healthcare professionals, state department officials said information about infectious disease outbreaks, environmental and product safety advisories, preparedness planning and response information and public health developments will be distributed to local health departments and hospitals.

“As a leading source of health information and news, Medscape can quickly and effectively reach healthcare providers with critical health news,” said Robert Marotta, senior vice president and chief regulatory counsel of WebMD. “Our goal is to support the Indiana State Department of Health on both a state and local level in its efforts to ensure physicians receive the most critical health alerts.”

The new alert system is an enhancement to the health department’s national Health Alert Network (HAN) system, which directly transmits health alerts, advisories and updates to health providers.

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