US doctors are tapping into medical records to identify unvaccinated patients in an attempt contain the record-setting measles outbreak that has swept the nation.
Several clinics, such as New York's NYU Langone Health, have built alerts into their electronic systems to notify doctors and nurses that a patient lives in an outbreak area, based on their zip code.
The goal is to protect medical staff and other patients from potential exposure, and warn the affected person about their risk of being infected.
It comes as federal health officials revealed on Monday that a total of 764 people in 23 states have been sickened by the measles, the highest number since the virus was deemed 'eliminated' in 2000.
Several hospital across the US have built alerts into their electronic medical records systems to tell staff if an unvaccinated patient lives in area affected by the measles (file image)
NYU Langone Health's network of hospitals and medical offices treat patients from both Rockland County and Brooklyn in New York, two epicenters of the outbreak.
Using software from Wisconsin-based Epic Systems Corp, the electronic system identifies patients who are unvaccinated and helps inform doctors on how to screen, track and treat measles patients.
'It identifies incoming patients who may have been exposed to measles and need to be assessed,' said Dr Michael Phillips, chief epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health.
Alerts in a patient's medical record also prompt conversations with their visitors - who may also have been exposed to the virus - about their own health, prior exposure to measles and vaccination history.
Mount Sinai Health System in New York rolled out a similar program last week, said chief medical information officer Dr Bruce Darrow.
Dr Darrow said it is important because, although a patient who comes from a measles-affected zip code may have passed the screening, family members who