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KONZA National Network and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Pioneer Public Health Project
[November 29, 2023]

KONZA National Network and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Pioneer Public Health Project

A Real-Time Alerting System to Combat Multidrug-Resistant Organisms

TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- KONZA National Network has partnered with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to pioneer a nationwide first: a pilot project that provides real-time alerting to prevent the spread of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs).

RapidAlerts Direct halts the spread of MDROs in healthcare sites with real-time alerts sent directly to provider's EHR

MDROs are bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics and the medicines used to treat them, rendering these drugs ineffective in controlling or killing the bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant germs cause over two million illnesses and claim at least 23,000 lives yearly in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the last year, KONZA has invested and built out RapidAlerts Direct, a real-time notification solution that alerts care coordination staff with critical information about incoming or transferred patients. Utilizing Event Notifications via the Direct Standard, the implementation guide combines Direct Secure Messaging—an established and widely used communication standard—with the real-world application of Event otifications. 

Delivered straight into a provider's Electronic Health Record (EHR) information system, RapidAlerts Direct improves patient population management with real-time notifications, seamlessly merged into clinical workflows.

For this pilot project, the alerting focus is on patients with an active MDRO diagnosis, though it can also be used for other critical patient alerts. On average, the RapidAlerts Direct notifications are delivered in less than five minutes, allowing swift implementation of appropriate transmission-based protocols to contain infections.

Emphasizing the importance of quick response times in combating these dangerous organisms, Dr. Kellie Wark, Antimicrobial Stewardship Lead at KDHE and Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases at The University of Kansas Medical Center, said, "Rapid pathogen identification is critical to ensuring improved patient outcomes, but this is especially true when we are treating MDROs in which the empiric antimicrobial will often not be the drug of choice. Tracking down bacterial isolates generally takes days, so having an MDRO alert system greatly expedites this process when time is of the essence. Additionally, the lead time identification of MDRO via the alerts allows for rapid IP (Infection Preventionist) notification so the appropriate IPC (infection prevention and control) measures are enacted, ultimately stopping these deadly and difficult-to-treat pathogens before they have the chance to spread to others."

Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kansas—one of the state's most clinically capable Critical Access Hospitals—is the first pilot site to go live for this project. They have assisted in end-to-end testing, which surfaced minor changes and refinements in the MDRO alerting process.

"RapidAlerts Direct could be transformative for infection control measures," said Patricia Parks, MSN, RN, an Infection Prevention/Employee Health Nurse at Newman Regional Health. "The real-time alerts allow for immediate implementation of isolation and transmission-based protocols. This has significantly improved our ability to contain infections in a critical time frame and thus prevent MDRO disease spread to other patients and staff in our facilities. The ability to use RapidAlerts Direct allows us to continue to provide high-quality care to our patients and community."

While KDHE's MDRO project is the inception and base for RapidAlerts Direct, the product is scalable across other Public Health Departments and across other alert types. 

"The application of RapidAlerts Direct is wide-ranging beyond its current use for MDRO alerts and has significant opportunity to improve public health on a national level," said Chris Guerrero, Director of Public Health Services for KONZA. "Our partnership with KDHE on this vital project underscores our shared commitment to advancing public health outcomes."

For more information about RapidAlerts Direct, visit

KONZA National Network advances health information sharing, enabling better care management, transformative value-based payment models and actionable data analytics that improve patient outcomes. KONZA's suite of products and services integrate with clinical workflows to provide seamless sharing of health data across networks and systems. With a growing portfolio of connected sites from across the nation, KONZA provides centralized access to data, delivery of data and analytic tools for healthcare optimization. KONZA is transforming access to comprehensive patient data as one of the first organizations to onboard as a Candidate Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) under the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).

Media Contact:
Katy Brown, KCB Communications
303-710-5335 |

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SOURCE KONZA National Network

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