Performance Improvement 2001. Evaluation of the National Electronic Telecommunication System for Surveillance and the Public Health Laboratory Information System


The National Telecommunications System for Surveillance (NETSS) is a computerized public health surveillance system that assembles, analyzes and disseminates weekly data on about 50 nationally notifiable diseases, provided by state and territorial health agencies and transmitted to CDC's Epidemiology Program Office (EPO). Providers, clinical laboratories, and public health officials collect NETSS data at the state and local level. The evaluation purpose was to examine the effective use of communicable disease data transmitted to CDC over NETSS by state and local public health officials, as well as CDC officials. In addition, the study sought to identify barriers to effective use and ways to make improvements. State officials responding to a national survey said they are making effective use of NETSS data to track trends in communicable diseases, detect epidemiological patterns, and compare observed levels of disease to expected levels. Technical barriers to the use of NETSS data were mentioned in open-ended comments on surveys and in all focus groups. Major problems cited have to do with outdated computer technology or incompatibilities with other electronic disease surveillance systems, including unresolved software malfunctions. The state epidemiologies recommended that disease data from other states be available for analysis.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Epidemiology Program Office

FEDERAL CONTACT: Roy Baron, 404-639-2697

PIC ID: 6332

PERFORMER: Battelle Corporation, Arlington, VA