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Cincinnati Fire Department Uses Application Programming Interface (API)

Application Programming Interface:
Data feed to EPA and Cincinnati Waterworks

Automated interface to provide data to Cincinnati city agencies

SafetyPAD team provides an automated data feed via a custom developed Application Programming Interface. The original automated surveillance system was implemented for Cincinnati’s drinking water contamination warning system to monitor health-related 911 calls in the city of Cincinnati in 2004 and was in place when the Cincinnati Fire Department implemented SafetyPAD electronic patient care reporting in 2011. Data in an .xml format is sent via a ‘stream’ for inclusion in the water analysis data.  The surveillance system uses information data documented on patient care reports by Cincinnati Fire & EMS personnel to assist with the analysis to detect potential water contamination incidents.

As defined at http://www.ij-healthgeographics.com/content/10/1/22 the program was implemented to address the risk of contamination of drinking water systems, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began conceptual design of a multi-component contamination warning system in 2004, which culminated in the development of the WaterSentinel System Architecture. Cincinnati, Ohio was chosen as the first city to demonstrate this conceptual design and deployment of the Cincinnati contamination warning system was substantially complete in December 2007.

The overall program notes that when call records are completed by dispatchers, the call data is stored in the Cincinnati Fire Department’s dispatch system. Call detail data is then exported to a utility application server via Web services. Exported call detail information includes the call identifier, the incident type code, the date and time of the incident (call time and dispatch time), and the latitude and longitude of the incident location. All 911 calls are a part of the public record and not subject to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy regulations. New call detail records are queried by the utility application server on a minute-by-minute basis. For call detail records that have incident type codes indicative of possible water contamination, as determined by epidemiologists from the Cincinnati Health Department and Hamilton County Public Health, and poison control specialists from the Drug and Poison Information Center prior to implementation of the system, a corresponding record is stored in a dedicated utility database for later reference by the 911 surveillance system. HIPAA protected data provides additional information about a incident area by including symptoms pertaining to abdominal pain, allergies, breathing problems, cardiac or respiratory distress, headache, hemorrhaging, fainting, possible stroke, seizures, and unconsciousness.

The custom API has allowed the city to continue this program seamlessly during the transition into SafetyPAD electronic patient care reporting system.

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