Evaluating Data Quality of Electronic Blood Lead Testing Results

Project start date and end date: August 1, 2016 - Present

Exposure to lead can result in serious, negative health effects. Periodic blood lead testing is recommended among children <6 years living in housing with potential exposure to lead. Timely and accurate blood lead testing results are important for ensuring that patients receive appropriate follow-up care, and are vital to public health surveillance activities aimed at identifying at-risk groups for which interventions are needed.  

Michigan laboratories report all blood lead test results to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP). These data are uploaded into the MDHHS Data Warehouse which is accessed by the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR), the Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Surveillance System (HHLPSS), as well other programs. Recently, the MDHHS initiated efforts to improve the electronic reporting of data from laboratory reporting (ELR) systems through real-time interoperability via HL7 messaging.

To 1) conduct an evaluation of the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of blood lead testing results related to HL7 messaging adoption by electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) systems; and 2) provide support to MDHHS with the evaluation of blood lead testing result data.

Research Topics & Methods:
Building upon methods used to evaluate HL7 messaging adoption by MCIR, we will assess blood lead data reported by laboratories, local health departments, and primary care practices throughout Michigan. We will use data obtained from the MDHHS Data Warehouse and MCIR databases to assess the degree to which the timeliness, completeness and accuracy of blood lead data may have changed. We will also work with blood lead testing sites as well as practices that utilize blood lead screening data to identify opportunities for improvement.  In addition, we will summarize blood lead screening levels, assess timeliness of follow up testing, monitor geographic patterns, assess screening rates among Medicaid enrollees and characterize trends over time.

This project will allow for the quantification and characterization of the timeliness, completeness and accuracy of blood lead reporting data. With this information, opportunities for improvement and strategies to improve will be more easily conceptualized and implemented.

The project is funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

For more information, please contact:
Research Professor, Department of Pediatrics
NCRC Building 16, G031N
2800 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800