Research

Study: Underused national disease surveillance system

A study indicated that states which have developed and/or purchased electronic systems to conduct surveillance on diseases have tended to gravitate toward customized systems to meet their own specific surveillance needs, with interoperability not playing a major role in decision-making. The National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS), is a web-based platform developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that apparently hasn’t been used to the fullest. Those were the key conclusions of a report released July 30 of an assessment performed in August 2007 in all 50 states by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE).

A part of these electronic systems are disease specific, such as those for HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis, while others serve a particular function, such disease outbreak management or electronic laboratory reporting. The report indicated that 16 states are using NEDSS as their general communicable disease electronic surveillance system, while 34 states reported using some combination of commercial, CDC, or state-developed electronic surveillance systems to meet their needs. Thirty-five states reported that their system could send a message about communicable disease in Health Level Seven (HL7) format to the CDC.

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