Use of clinical data to augment healthcare worker contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Peter Hong, Joshua C. Herigon, Colby Uptegraft, Bassem Samuel, D. Levin Brown, Jonathan Bickel, Jonathan D. Hron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: This work examined the secondary use of clinical data from the electronic health record (EHR) for screening our healthcare worker (HCW) population for potential exposures to patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study at a free-standing, quaternary care pediatric hospital comparing first-degree, patient-HCW pairs identified by the hospital's COVID-19 contact tracing team (CTT) to those identified using EHR clinical event data (EHR Report). The primary outcome was the number of patient-HCW pairs detected by each process. Results: Among 233 patients with COVID-19, our EHR Report identified 4116 patient-HCW pairs, including 2365 (30.0%) of the 7890 pairs detected by the CTT. The EHR Report also revealed 1751 pairs not identified by the CTT. The highest number of patient-HCW pairs per patient was detected in the inpatient care venue. Nurses comprised the most frequently identified HCW role overall. Conclusions: Automated methods to screen HCWs for potential exposures to patients with COVID-19 using clinical event data from the EHR (1) are likely to improve epidemiological surveillance by contact tracing programs and (2) represent a viable and readily available strategy that should be considered by other institutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • clinical informatics
  • contact tracing
  • electronic health records
  • infection control
  • information technology


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