We can have it all: Improved surveillance outcomes and decreased personnel costs associated with electronic reportable disease surveillance, North Carolina, 2010
OBJECTIVES: We assessed the timeliness, accuracy, and cost of a new electronic disease surveillance system at the local health department level. We describe practices associated with lower cost and better surveillance timeliness and accuracy.METHODS: Interviews conducted May through August 2010 with local health department (LHD) staff at a simple random sample of 30 of 100 North Carolina counties provided information on surveillance practices and costs; we used surveillance system data to calculate timeliness and accuracy. We identified LHDs with best timeliness and accuracy and used these categories to compare surveillance practices and costs.RESULTS: Local health departments in the top tertiles for surveillance timeliness and accuracy had a lower cost per case reported than LHDs with lower timeliness and accuracy ($71 and $124 per case reported, respectively; P = .03). Best surveillance practices fell into 2 domains: efficient use of the electronic surveillance system and use of surveillance data for local evaluation and program management.CONCLUSIONS: Timely and accurate surveillance can be achieved in the setting of restricted funding experienced by many LHDs. Adopting best surveillance practices may improve both efficiency and public health outcomes.
Samoff, E., Fangman, M. T., Fleischauer, A. T., Waller, A. E., & MacDonald, P. (2013). We can have it all: Improved surveillance outcomes and decreased personnel costs associated with electronic reportable disease surveillance, North Carolina, 2010. American Journal of Public Health, 130(12), 2292-2297. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301353