1. McClean, Colleen M. MSPH
  2. Silk, Benjamin J. PhD, MPH
  3. Buehler, James W. MD
  4. Berkelman, Ruth L. MD


Opportunities for improved disease reporting are identified by describing physicians' reporting knowledge and practices as well as reporting knowledge and specimen referral patterns among clinical laboratories in the state of Georgia. In 2005, a sample of physicians(n = 177) and all Georgia clinical laboratories (n = 139) were surveyed about reporting knowledge and practices. Knowledgewas greater among physicians who received their medical degree before 1980 (P = .04), accessed e-mail (P< .01), used the Internet to obtain public health information (P < .01), and reported frequently (P= .06). Increased knowledge was not associated with training in reporting (P = .14). Physicians were oftenunaware of reporting procedures and mechanisms and often did not report because they believed others would report (52%). Laboratoryrepresentatives (56%) more often received training on disease reporting than physicians (32%). All laboratories sent somespecimens for diagnostic testing at reference laboratories and 35% sent the specimens outside of Georgia. Physicians'characteristics may affect reporting knowledge independent of training on disease reporting, and increased knowledge is associated withincreased reporting. Investigation of physician characteristics that contribute to improved reporting, such as an activeengagement with public health, could help to guide changes to reporting-related training and technology. Reporting by other health careproviders and physicians' perceptions that others will report both indicate that studies of all reporting stakeholders and cleardelineation of reporting responsibilities are needed. Extensive specimen referral by laboratories suggests the need for coordination ofreporting regulations and responsibilities beyond local boundaries.