by Michelle Del Guercio & Gwen Bell & Tanya Oemig | August 31, 2020 | Blog
Local public health departments are essential for surveillance and response to infectious diseases like COVID-19. From detection and tracking to prevention and treatment (including screenings and vaccinations), public health efforts are most effective when based on up-to-date information from community healthcare providers and other sources. And yet, in a recent survey of more than 3,500 U.S. hospitals, more than 40% said their local public health departments cannot receive electronic data. As a result, many rely on patchwork data-sharing via fax or phone, which can hinder the ability to rapidly identify causes and control disease spread.
COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease public health departments face, but it is certainly the most pressing one right now. There are many barriers that can impair timely, actionable data-sharing for public health responses…that’s the bad news. The good news is that all challenges can be overcome with the right technology and support. Let’s explore: