Disease surveillance systems (DSS) are the cornerstone of health informatics for local health departments (LHDs) operating in the post-H1N1 and evidence-based public health practice era. An electronic disease surveillance system refers to a system for electronically transferring disease-related public health data from the healthcare facilities to LHDs (and state health agencies) for surveillance and early detection of outbreaks.
The primary objective for this study was to provide evidence regarding the level to which LHDs have implemented electronic disease reporting systems and factors associated with variation in implementation of electronic disease reporting systems.
Significant factors associated with the implementation of EDRSs were experienced (tenure) top executive, jurisdiction population size, region of geographic location, presence of Local Board of Health, type of governance, presence of health information specialist on staff, and number of clinical services performed.
For the advancement of public health surveillance in the 21st century, LHDs need the capacity for real time surveillance data collection and use, as well as, interoperable and integrated disease surveillance systems. Policies aimed at advancing disease surveillance in the United States might benefit from our findings on modifiable factors associated with the difference in EDRS implementation.
“Implementation of Electronic Disease Reporting Systems by Local Health Departments,” is published in Frontiers in Public Health Services and Systems Research.
Dr. Gulzar Shah, associate dean for research at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) at Georgia Southern University, was the lead author.