Piloting Electronic Case Reporting for Improved Surveillance of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Utah

Amanda Whipple, Joseph Jackson, Joshua Ridderhoff, Allyn K. Nakashima


Objectives: The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) developed an electronic case reporting (eCR) process to automatically transfer clinical data from a provider to the state health department, with aims of improving sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance data quality, decreasing the time spent on STD case investigations, and expanding the process to other diseases and larger healthcare systems.

Methods: Reportable Conditions Trigger Codes (RCTC) were placed into the electronic health record (EHR) system at Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) to trigger the automatic transfer of clinical data to Utah’s public health surveillance system. Received data were deduplicated, processed, and assigned directly to the public health surveillance system, with minimal manual intervention.

Results: Eighteen new data elements, important for STD case investigations, were transferred to cases with eCR. Additionally, the clinical time spent transmitting data was vastly reduced. With the new eCR process more complete and timely data is received by public health. Providers, as well as public health, now spend less time manually transmitting clinical data by fax and/or phone.

Discussion: Automated processes are challenging but can be achieved with a robust disease surveillance system, flexible rules engine, skillful programming, on-going analysis, and successful partnerships. The eCR process created for this project can potentially be useful for other conditions outside of STDs.

Conclusion: Results of this demonstration project offer an opportunity for readers to learn about eCR and apply lessons learned to improve their existing eCR systems, or future public health informatics initiatives, at any state-level jurisdiction.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v11i2.9733

Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 * http://ojphi.org