Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Development and evaluation of new strategies to enhance public health reporting
by Rajeev, Deepthi, Ph.D., The University of Utah, 2013, 231; 3594716
Abstract (Summary)

Public health reporting is an important source of information for public health investigation and surveillance, which are necessary for the prevention and control of disease. There are two important problems with the current public health reporting process in the United States: (a) the reporting specifications are unstructured and are communicated with reporting facilities using nonstandard public health department Web sites and (b) most reporting facilities transmit reports to public health entities using manual and paper-based processes. Our research focuses on the development and evaluation of new strategies to improve the public health reporting process by addressing these problems.

To improve the communication of public health reporting specifications by public health authorities, we: (a) examined the business process of a laboratory complying with the reporting requirements, (b) evaluated public health department Websites to understand the problems faced by reporting facilities while accessing the reporting specifications, (c) identified the content requirements of a knowledge management system for public health reporting specifications, (d) designed the representation of the public health reporting specifications, and (e) evaluated the content and design using a prototype web-based query system for public health reporting specifications.

To improve the transmission of case reports from healthcare facilities to public health entities, we: (a) described public health workflow associated with the management of case reports, (b) identified the content of a case report to meet the needs of public health authorities, (c) modeled the case report using Health Level Seven (HL7) v2.5.1, and (d) evaluated the electronic case reports by comparing the timeliness, completeness of information content, and the completeness of the electronic reporting process with the paper-based reporting processes.

We demonstrated a model for public health reporting specifications using a prototype web-based query system. The evaluation conducted with users from laboratories, healthcare facilities, and public health entities showed that the proposed model met most of the users' needs and requirements. We also identified variation in the reporting specifications, some of which could be standardized to improve reporting compliance.

We implemented HL7 v2.5.1 case reports from Intermountain Healthcare hospitals to the Utah Department of Health. The electronic reports transmitted from the Intermountain hospitals were more timely (median delay: 2 days) than the paper reports sent from other clinical facilities (median delay: 3.5 days) but less timely than the paper reports from Intermountain laboratories (median: 1 day). However, the evaluation of the completeness of data elements needed for public health triage prior to investigation showed that electronic case reports from Intermountain hospitals included more complete information than paper reports from Intermountain laboratories. Even though the paper reports from Intermountain laboratories were more timely, the incomplete reports may delay investigation. There are informatics opportunities and public health needs to improve both electronic laboratory reporting and electronic case reporting.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Staes, Catherine J.
Commitee: Evans, R. Scott, Huff, Stanley M., Rolfs, Robert T., VanDerslice, James A.
School: The University of Utah
Department: Biomedical Informatics
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: DAI-B 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Health sciences, Public health
Keywords: Health level seven, Loinc, Public health reporting, Requirements analysis, Snomed-ct, Usability testing
Publication Number: 3594716
ISBN: 9781303394232
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