Hospital Warning System

Ohio hospitals will help monitor for signs of terrorist attack

Some Ohio hospitals will send information about patients to a central database that will watch for illnesses that might signal a terrorist attack.

Health care centers in Cincinnati and Columbus will be part of an early-warning system similar to that used during the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. They will track symptoms of all emergency room patients and feed them to the University of Pittsburgh. Computers there will watch for surges in rashes and respiratory illnesses, for example, that might signal a biological or chemical attack. Similar systems are in place in major metropolitan areas such as New York and Washington, DC.

Carol King of Health Alliance says the goal is to identify an outbreak sooner so that patients can be treated faster. The health system includes six hospitals in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky.