Seven years and counting: National disease-tracking system still unfinished
A dozen states have yet to install technology needed to enable public health officials to monitor disease outbreaks via the Web
Computerworld - You might think that in the event of a major epidemic across the U.S., public health officials at the federal, state and local levels could track the outbreak electronically, using real-time data to try to control the spread of the disease.
But you'd be wrong.
An effort to develop those capabilities has been under way since 2001 through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is pushing the adoption of a Web-based system designed to give it and other health agencies nationwide rapid access to information about outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Local and state health officials who are using the system can submit case reports to the CDC more quickly than they could before, and they are eventually supposed to be able to view data from other jurisdictions online.
Seven years after the CDC launched the initiative, though, the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System has yet to be completed. At this point, only 38 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, are fully compliant with the technical requirements of NEDSS.
As a result, the data being input into the fledgling system is far from complete. And for now, information is flowing only in one direction — from local and state health agencies to the CDC. Until NEDSS is finished, state and local health officials can't go into the system and see what's happening across the nation, limiting their ability to monitor the spread of diseases.
The slow progress on NEDSS is forcing health agencies to continue relying on an existing system in which disease reports are manually entered into state-level databases and then transmitted to the CDC on a weekly basis.
For many health officials, the continuing inability to track outbreaks in real time is a source of both frustration and public-safety concerns.
"As a nation, we should be astounded that this capacity doesn't exist," said Dr. Scott McNabb, an epidemiologist who heads the NEDSS program in his job as director of the CDC's Division of Integrated Surveillance Systems and Services. "It should be a call for action."
McNabb described the capabilities of NEDSS as "absolutely mission-critical" for health officials. "With disease outbreaks, if local and state health departments are able to identify them quicker, then we are able to prevent future cases," he said. "But if we don't identify cases in a timely way, then people are at risk."
NEDSS Compliance Status, by Number of States
|Compliance Criteria||Nov. '04||Nov. '05||Nov. '06||Nov. '07|
|No. 1: Integrated data repository||17||23||36||44|
|No. 2: Electronic lab-result messaging||15||19||35||41|
|No. 3: Web-based software||21||28||37||44|
|States meeting Criteria 1, 2 |
Apple continues work on iOS 8, but its latest developer release underlines the importance of new sensor technologies as it pulls together a private and secure mobile foundation to support the digital health industry.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- 2014 Healthcare Data Management Survey Summary
- This report provides insights into how much information Healthcare IT organizations are managing, the rate of data growth they are experiencing and which...
- Selecting Foundational Controls Makes HIPAA Compliance Easier
- In this Dell Software white paper, learn more about HIPAA and IT security compliance - straight from an auditor - and discover how...
- Security, Privacy and Trust in Email Management
- This white paper discusses a SaaS-based email management solution that delivers the security, continuity and archiving capabilities your organization demands.
- The Total Cost of Email
- In this white paper, we'll explore the true costs of fragmented email management and uncover how to reduce those costs with a cloud-based...
- Balancing Security, Compliance and Cost: the Prescription for Healthcare Email Management: Move to the Cloud
- Learn how cloud-based technologies for core productivity tools such as email and collaboration can help healthcare organizations be more efficient with IT dollars... All Healthcare IT White Papers
- Cloud BI in Action: Recorded Webinar of Customer, Kony, Inc. See how Kony, Inc., a leading enterprise mobility company, is using TIBCO Jaspersoft for Amazon Web Services and Redshift to achieve embedded analytics...
- Cloud BI Overview: Jaspersoft for AWS Check out this overview of Jaspersoft for AWS, to easily and affordably build business intelligence solutions as well as embed visualizations and analytics...
- API Management: The Key to Improving the Consumer Travel Experience Join PhoCusWright's Senior Technology Analyst, Norm Rose, as he shares his insights on how travel suppliers and intermediaries can improve industry data flow...
- Tips to Simplify Database Administration and Development Make your job easier while getting the most from the leading productivity tool for database professionals. Learn tips from Dell Software's Oracle® ACE,...
- E-Signature RFP Checklist Webcast If your organization is looking to adopt e-signatures, you may be overwhelmed by the number of providers that offer seemingly similar solutions. How...
- All Healthcare IT Webcasts