Thousands of people suffer from disease and/ or injury due to exposure to hazardous substances at workplaces all over the world. In order to gain control over such ill-fated incidents, Massey University’s (New Zealand) Centre for Public Health Research has developed the Hazardous Substances Disease and Injury Reporting Tool (HSDIRT) in association with Best Practice Decision Support that develops forms and Decision Support Tools which again are linked to GP’s Patient Management Systems. Incidentally, the HSDIRT is also considered as a (GP) Notification System for hazardous substances disease and injury U/S 143 of the HSNO Act 1996, while it includes lead absorption ≥ 0.48 μmol/L and poisoning arising from chemical contamination of the environment under the Health Act 1956.
To be precise, the HSDIRT was designed for General Practitioners (GPs) to notify cases of disease and injury caused due to hazardous substances exposure. Notification, however, is mandatory in terms of the HSNO Act 1996 and the Health Act 1956.Needless to say, it is a phenomenal achievement in terms of monitoring diseases and injuries arising out of exposure to hazardous substances among Kiwis.
Nevertheless, Auckland based top level HSNO guide Technical Compliance Consultant (NZ) takes pleasure in elucidating the nuances of this important data source for the benefit of all concerned.
Usefulness of HSDIRT
While the Centre for Public Health Research undertakes hazardous substances surveillance for the ministry of health it has been based on data sources that includes hospitalizations, coronial records (Coroner’s Reports), attendances at Emergencies, as well as calls to the National Poisons Centre, the HSDIRT is also considered as an additional data source that provides information to primary care in regard to exposure to hazardous substances.
How HSDIRT works?
When a patient presents to primary care with an injury or disease caused due to exposure to a hazardous substance (Reference: HSNO Act); or lead or chemical contamination of the environment that includes spray drift (Reference: Health Act), the GP needs to electronically notify the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) via a BPAC form. The MOH is sent an email (containing no identifiable data) alerting them that a notification has been sent, and they are able to log on to the BPAC secure system to access the notification.
The Public Health Unit (PHU) enters data into the form and submits the same electronically to CPHR via BPAC. BPAC removes identifiable data before making the data available to CPHR for analysis for surveillance purposes. No doubt a simple yet effective system that serves the purpose only too well.
Hazardous Substances Disease/Injury and Lead Absorption Notifications via BPAC
General Practitioners from all over the country are now asked to notify cases of disease/injury caused by hazardous substances seen in primary care to the M.O. of health. A brief electronic form that is linked to MedTech32 and developed by best practice Decision Support (BPAC) is there to make the notification as simple as possible.
Notification, incidentally, might result in the form of a PHU (Public Health Unit) investigation in regard to a particular incident, or a group of related cases of a particular substance in a particular region or nationwide exploration. However, data will be collated and analysed to provide policy and possible preventive measures.