Web-Based Public Health Reporting System is Feasible, CHCF Report Says
The California Department of Health Services could likely implement a Web-based public health reporting system and should implement a pilot program to "demonstrate the feasibility" of such a system, according to a report released yesterday by the California HealthCare Foundation. The study was initially conducted last year by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and released internally to DHS. Given the recent focus on bioterrorism and the subsequent proposals from both Congress and Gov. Gray Davis (D) to improve disease surveillance systems, the foundation decided to release the report publicly to "help local health officials and state policymakers explore workable options." The study found that providers, county officials and DHS officials are all generally supportive of a switch to Web-based disease reporting. The report proposes that the department institute a communicable disease surveillance pilot program to test whether a Web-based system would be effective and whether providers would accept such a system. This pilot program could provide "operational experiences" for future Web-based projects. The report cautions that several obstacles to implementing the pilot program exist, including privacy concerns about health data and getting and maintaining participation by physicians. It also states that the support of DHS officials is "essential," as is that of the governor's office and the Health and Human Services Agency ("Web-Based Public Health Reporting in California, 12/2001). The full report is available at http://ehealth.chcf.org/view.cfm?section=Policy&itemID=4684.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.