Electronic Disease Surveillance Systems Vary Widely

Lack of unified systems will increase cost of data sharing, report predicts
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Electronic disease surveillance systems vary widely from state to state and the lack of homogeneity will raise the cost of data sharing, according to a study published in the July 31 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Lisa Dwyer, of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists in Atlanta, and colleagues write that the Council conducted a survey of the status and characteristics of electronic disease surveillance systems in all 50 states.

Across the country, the stages of implementation of electronic disease surveillance systems varied widely, as did the types of systems used. Each state was using custom-built or purchased systems that could be customized to correspond to state-specific disease surveillance needs, the investigators report.

"As interoperability becomes the standard for electronic data sharing, more states will face customization costs and the need to hire more technical specialists who can manage health information and exchange," the authors write. "Further collaboration and support from surveillance and health care information technology stakeholders with public health will be needed to improve the efficacy and quality of electronic disease surveillance systems."

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