Exploring the feasibility of using electronic health records in the surveillance of fetal alcohol syndrome

Craig Hansen, Marvin Adams, Deborah J. Fox, Leslie A. O'Leary, Jaime L. Frías, Heather Freiman, F. John Meaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Explore the use of electronic health records (EHRs) in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) surveillance systems. METHODS: Using EHRs we identified diagnoses and anthropometric measurements related to the FAS criteria developed by the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Surveillance Network (FASSNet) among children aged 0 to 12 years. RESULTS: There were 143,393 distinct children aged between 0 and 12 years enrolled in Kaiser Permanente, Georgia, during the study period. Based on diagnoses and anthropometric measurements, 20,101 children met at least one criterion of interest, and when grouped into combinations of different criteria there were 2285 who met GROWTH+CNS criteria, 76 children who met GROWTH+FACE criteria, 107 children who met CNS+FACE criteria, and 93 children who met GROWTH+CNS+FACE criteria. The prevalence of FAS as defined by FASSNet is 1.92 per 1000 children. We linked 17,084 (85.0%) children to their mothers in the health plan; only 3% of mothers of children in the GROWTH+CNS+FACE group had an indication of alcohol or drugs use, but they had the highest rate of depression (39%). CONCLUSION: Data of utility in identification of FAS are readily available in EHRs and may serve as a basis for intervention with at-risk children and in planning of future FAS surveillance programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalBirth Defects Research Part A - Clinical and Molecular Teratology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Electronic health records
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology

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