The long term goal of the proposed project is to prevent or reduce the impact of food borne disease by enhancing surveillance and outbreak response capabilities at the local health department level. This goal supports the overall mission of our agency which is "To prevent disease and injury, promote positive health outcomes, and to provide critical services to improve the health status of the community". One of the biggest challenges that we face when conducting public health surveillance is the reliance on stand alone "systems" that are not well integrated. This fragmented approach often results in the inability to detect anomalies and/or causes delays in the detection that leads to additional or unnecessary cases of illness/disease. Therefore, the short term goal of the proposed project is to compile data from a series of disease surveillance/reporting sources and quality improvement databases to increase the capability to analyze data from individual cases as well as outbreak investigations associated with food borne illness.
The specific aims of this project are: 1) to create a surveillance dynamic dashboard that can be used on a daily basis by local health department epidemiologists and food safety program staff; 2) to create a quality improvement dynamic dashboard that can serve as a primary tool for an existing agency reportable disease quality improvement/quality assurance program; 3) to create a dynamic quality assurance/improvement report that can be distributed to both internal (i.e. health department staff) and external (i.e. local health care providers) stakeholders. To accomplish these aims, we will build upon an existing data infrastructure using a combination of: existing agency informatics staff, computer science interns provided through a newly formed partnership with a computer science department at a local university, and/or external programming consultants. Most of the work to create the dashboards and report referenced above will occur during the first year of the project. Year two of the project will focus on implementation of these products making modifications after 3, 6, and 9 months of use.
The aims of the proposed project will help enhance two essential public health services. Specifically, it will provide a more efficient method to: 1) monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems;and 2) diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community pertaining to foodborne disease. This will be accomplished by creating a new tracking (i.e. surveillance) system that uses information technology solutions to automate methods that were more manual and time intensive in nature.