Texas Launches Electronic Network To Improve Ability of Public Health System To Monitor Disease Outbreaks
Texas on Friday launched a statewide electronic network, designed to improve local public health departments' ability to report and monitor disease outbreaks, Federal Computer Week reports. The Texas Health Alert Network links 64 public health departments statewide, and the state plans to expand the network to include all public health departments, as well as health care centers and law enforcement agencies, according to Michael Mastrangelo, confounder of Texas HAN. The network allows real-time communication between public health departments statewide through high-speed Internet access, which the state hopes will improve their ability to monitor and track disease outbreaks. Only half of public health departments statewide have the equipment required to participate in the network, but officials have asked for additional funds to expand Texas HAN. Texas HAN also allows remote instruction for public health employees through an interactive two-way videoconference function. Seventeen local health departments statewide have the equipment required to use the videoconference function, but Mastrangelo hopes to double the number as the network expands. State health officials have teamed with university medical centers and other groups to provide information for the network's distance education program. Texas HAN, which the state has developed over the past three years, is part of a CDC program to improve state public health systems (Sarkar, Federal Computer Week, 8/12). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.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.