Delaware to Begin Nation’s First Computerized Disease Reporting System
Delaware will launch the nation's first computerized communicable disease reporting system, the Associated Press reports. Currently, state health officials are required by law to report 65 communicable diseases to the state Division of Public Health. The computerized system will replace the existing paper-based network, which state epidemiologist Leroy Hathcock called "slow" and "extremely cumbersome." By electronically linking doctors, hospitals, clinics and laboratories with state public health officials, the system will allow quicker reporting and response to outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, STDs and other diseases, such as anthrax and yellow fever. The design and implementation of the system -- the first phase of the network -- will take about 15 months and will include four Christiana Care Health System and Bayhealth Medical Center hospitals. Four other hospitals will be added during the second phase of the project. The system will be administered by a contractor who works with the state Department of Health and Social Services (Chase, Associated Press, 6/25). Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) helped obtain $1.8 million in federal funds for the $4 million project. Castle is seeking another $2.2 million from the federal government to "complete" the project and has asked the House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee to add the funding into the Labor-HHS fiscal year 2002 appropriations bill (Castle release, 6/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.