The goal of NACCHO's Epidemiology Project is to help local health departments (LHDs) improve their capacity to continuously and systematically collect, analyze, and interpret health-related data needed for planning, implementing, and evaluating public health practice.
Together, these activities will result in more robust surveillance to address common problems. These strategies, tools and policies should be easily transferable across states, localities and other political jurisdictions, and advance current national priorities for both routine disease surveillance and for enhancing LHDs' ability to identify and respond effectively to pandemics and bioterrorism.
Testimony Before Congress Regarding Disease Reporting by the Department of Veterans Affairs
NACCHO was asked to testify before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that is considering the Infectious Disease Reporting Act (H.R. 1792). The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to report each case of reportable infectious disease that is diagnosed in a VA medical facility to the appropriate entity, according to the rules of the State in which the facility is located. The VA is one of the largest medical care systems in our nation. Their facilities are an important part of the healthcare provider network in our nation's communities, and are therefore important to public health surveillance and disease prevention activities. The testimony in favor of the proposed legislation was delivered on June 19. A copy of the testimony can be accessed here.
Syndromic Surveillance Using Electronic Health Record Clinical Data from Hospital and Ambulatory Settings
The availability of electronic health record (EHR) data from new settings is creating opportunities for syndromic surveillance. To demonstrate how some early adopters are using the data, the International Society for Disease Surveillance (IDIS) has compiled nearly 50 articles on syndromic surveillance using EHR data from hospital and ambulatory settings into an annotated bibliography. The bibliography is a valuable resource for both practitioners and researchers as they consider the feasibility and utility of using new types of clinical data for syndromic surveillance purposes. The bibliography also describes uses for data elements not commonly associated with syndromic surveillance, such as laboratory orders and results and medication usage. This resource will help to illustrate the value and limitations of these types of data as public health moves forward with implementing the Meaningful Use program. To access the report, click here.