246067 Leveraging Web Technology for Tracking, Planning and Dissemination of Public Information Messages

Monday, October 31, 2011

Leigh-Anne Stafford, MSA , Depatment of Health and Human Services, Oakland County Health Division, Pontiac, MI
Health and Human Services Communication Portal (HHSCP) addresses the Oakland County Health Division challenges and barriers to school communicable disease reporting and risk/crisis communication. This efficient, user friendly system increases the total number of schools reporting regularly, allowing for timely public health response and identification of disease trends. An assessment was conducted with schools to identify barriers and challenges in reporting communicable disease activity to Oakland County Health Division (OCHD). The assessment indicated the process to record communicable disease activity was labor intensive, cumbersome and untimely. OCHD staff spent many hours calling schools and reviewing and merging contradictory data. This slowed down the ability to quickly assess the County for communicable diseases activity and provide relevant communication and response to schools and community partners. The school assessment, and the lessons learned from past public health events, indicated a need to strengthen disease reporting and risk communication among schools and community partners/stakeholders. The use of technology to enhance reporting and communication functions was identified. The HHSCP addresses school-based disease reporting, surveillance, crisis communication, and response. With a student population of over 220,000, school reporting provides an important opportunity for disease surveillance in County. A timely report of school communicable disease activity has the potential to reflect illness patterns as they occur and increases the success of early educational messaging and response. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic the portal was successfully used. The data reported by schools provided OCHD real time information indicating the presence of a pandemic in the County. This led to a rapid response including the monumental task of vaccinating the high- risk population. This communication method is now an integral part of the OCHD redundant communication strategy. It has significantly improved communication, allowing for consistent messaging that is continuously available, making it invaluable to OCHD and community partners/stakeholders.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Communication and informatics
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, the participant will be able to 1. Descibe the importance of disease reporting of school age children 2. Demonstrate the functionality of the Health and Human Services Communication Portal 3. Explain the effectiveness for using cutting edge technology to provide up-to-date public health messages during the 2009 H1N1 response.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I oversee programs such as disease prevention, environmental and consumer safety and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.