Lead Screen Guide App Hopes to Increase the Frequency of Child Blood Lead Level Testing

(JOHNSON CITY, NY) - On Monday, June 11, 2012, Dr. Hong Truong, DO, and Dr. Michael Siciliano, MD, family practice residents at United Health Services (UHS) presented their scholarly work: an iPhone app that helps health care providers to detect and manage childhood lead poisoning. Physicians in the residency program are tasked with projects focused on improving the practice of medicine. Doctors Truong and Siciliano’s app, the “Lead Screen Guide”, is a tool that gives health care providers easy access to guidance about lead testing on their smart phone.

The Lead Screen Guide is more than just a portal to basic lead screening information; it contains a wealth of information including:
  • who, how and when to screen, including special populations;
  • what various blood lead levels indicate;
  • how to assess a child’s risk of lead poisoning;
  • necessary follow up based on blood lead level testing results.
The app provides a description of signs and symptoms, management of blood lead levels, and displays the New York State guidelines upon which lead testing standards are based. It is intended to be a starting point for patient-specific care. Providers need to be aware of state and/or community standards when choosing a course of action.
Broome County Medical Director Christopher Ryan, MD, suggested the app as a project for Dr. Truong and Dr. Siciliano. They conferred with Barbara West, from Broome County’s Division of Environmental Health Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs, and Joshua Steinberg, MD, from the faculty of the UHS Family Practice Residency. Working with Anup Patunkar, and his project adviser, Professor Madhusudhan Govindaraju from Binghamton University’s Computer Science Department, they planned and built the app in about six months. Its topic is unique and timely. 
Approximately 85% of the houses in Broome County were built before 1978, when lead based paint was taken off the market for use in residential homes. Yet less than 35% of children in Broome County ages 0-6 complete required blood lead testing which detects lead poisoning in children. The creators of the Lead Screen Guide hope putting the information in providers’ hands in a very accessible form will increase the frequency of testing.
Lead can cause significant damage to a child’s body and brain and lead poisoning can occur with no visible symptoms. Only a blood test can positively identify a child with lead poisoning. Blood lead level testing and the actions that follow by Broome County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs can help to limit any further damage from lead poisoning and help protect future children who move into that home.
The time that a doctor has with a patient is filled with delivering a wealth of health information to the parents as well as taking care of the child’s immediate needs. Sometimes blood lead testing slips through the cracks. Putting this information at a health care provider’s fingertip is like having a constant reminder that lead poisoning is a serious medical issue. This new tool is free and can be found in the app store by searching Lead Screen Guide or Joshua Steinberg, MD, or by going to http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lead-screen-guide/id527071185?mt=8.
Lead Screen Guide represents collaboration between the Broome County Health Department, UHS, and Binghamton University. This is an example, suggests Dr. Ryan, of the positive results collaborations between multiple agencies can have.
Above: Lead Screen Guide developed by: Broome County Medical Director Christopher Ryan, MD, Joshua Steinberg, MD; Hong Truong, DO; and Michael Siciliano, MD, in collaboration with the Broome County Health Department, UHS, and Binghamton University.


07/02/2012 - 12:34pm