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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Public health surveillance data value survey: Forming a standard tool to measure surveillance data use

Emilie Kahn, School of Public Health, Health Law Dept., Boston University, 715 Albany St. T3W, Boston, MA 02118, 617-851-6568, emiliec@bu.edu

Abstract: Background: Public health surveillance has received increasing attention in recent years, primarily because of concerns about bioterrorism and the spread of SARS in 2003. Despite widespread acceptance of surveillance, little is known about how health departments use the surveillance data they collect, and no standard survey tool exists to measure such use. Methods: This pilot study developed and tested a survey tool to collect quantitative and qualitative information on the use of four categories of surveillance data (chronic disease, infectious disease, newborn screening, and cancer) by a sample of health departments in 6 states. Eleven major, and several minor, uses of surveillance data were identified. Respondents ranked uses in order of importance and estimated the number of employees and the percentage of employee time spent on each. Comparisons were made between state surveillance programs and between different types of surveillance data for the value they had for the state. Results: The results of this pilot study suggest that the survey tool can be used to evaluate the utility of surveillance data within states. An assessment quantified the ways in which surveillance data are used, the resources required, and values of surveillance. For instance, the use of putting surveillance data on the web for general access was found to be more valuable to those working with chronic disease data compared to those working with newborn screening data. These results pertain to public health practice and research, and could inform future policy governing the creation of and support for surveillance programs.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Public Health Data and Privacy

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA