DISEASE TRACKING: Clinton Will Announce New Surveillance Network
President Clinton is expected today to propose a nationwide computer system that would rapidly track the outbreak of infectious diseases such as influenza and hepatitis C, as well as notify doctors how to best treat them, USA Today reports. The $65 million "surveillance" network would replace the existing system that "relies mostly on phone calls and postcards to alert authorities to the spread of infectious diseases." The new program would "rely on cyberspace to move a doctor's disease report from a city clinic to the state public health service to the CDC within a day" and would allow the CDC to immediately inform doctors if a particular strain of infection is not responding to some antibiotic. Jeffrey Koplan, CDC director, said, "You can save hundreds of sick people and millions of dollars and go to the source of it ... more quickly this way." States now send their reports to the CDC electronically, but 90% of the data gathered by states comes from pen-and-paper reports mailed or telephoned in. The proposal is expected to be included in the FY 2001 budget that will be released Feb. 7 (Page, 1/10).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.