NDCPD receives $450,000 grant
The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities on Minot State University’s campus recently received a three-year $450,000 federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist in increasing the number of babies returning for needed outpatient care.
"This grant money will give us a chance to really reach out to a percentage of the newborns in North Dakota who have fallen through the cracks in the past. We’re proud to be part of a national initiative in bringing data sets together to provide quality coordinated care to the youngest among us," said Neil Scharpe, staff at NDCPD and principal investigator for the grant.
The most recent available data indicates that North Dakota is completing newborn hearing screening on 93 percent of babies prior to hospital discharge. Unfortunately, 44 percent of those babies that do not pass the initial hearing screening are not returning for outpatient follow-up. The North Dakota Early Hearing, Detection and Intervention Hear Now project is attempting to build on an established structure to improve these numbers, but without a system that can link existing data systems, it is impossible to track every baby after they leave the hospital. This proposed project will link the current N.D. EHDI hearing screening database to the official birth record by assigning a unique identifying number to each birth. The Division of Vital Records has information on every baby born in North Dakota and a unique identifier will allow N.D. EHDI staff to match N.D. EHDI hearing screening database’s information to that of the Division of Vital Records. This will increase N.D. EHDI’s capacity to track babies and locate parents to assure continued follow-up. As the system develops and matures, additional partners will be linked, thus allowing for access to multiple data systems.
Four goals have been established. The first goal is to select a unique identifier that can be attached to hearing screening data and also to official birth records. The second goal is to identify, purchase and install a middleware system that will have the capability to access individual data systems and match them using the unique identifier. The third goal is to develop an evaluation system that validates the linkage of these different data sets. The fourth goal is to expand this linkage to other health information systems. The system will allow linkage of read-only, read/update and record/data exchange. Protocol revisions and training will be the key to implementing the system as new data input personnel are brought on in birthing hospitals and the data input access is expanded to include additional audiologists and primary care physicians.