Online Program

Assessment of state approaches to sharing and exchanging birth defects surveillance data

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kristen Wan, MS, PAPHS, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA
Ellen Pliska, MHS, CPH, Family and Community Health, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, VA

Background: During a period when state-based program services and activities faced financial challenges, the functional status of birth defects surveillance programs was assessed. Objective: To evaluate the structure and capabilities of current state and territorial birth defects surveillance programs and registries and to identify any trends in the way programs share, exchange and use data by examining both recent and anticipated changes and activities. Methods: In 2009, ASTHO conducted an online survey of state and territorial birth defects surveillance programs. Potential participants were identified by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recruited through an email letter. Results: Thirty-eight of the 43 (88%) responding states and territories reported having a functional birth defects surveillance program. A majority of respondents indicated that if their state had laws or regulations in place, they facilitated case record abstraction (97%) and the reporting or identification of birth defects cases (88%) between programs and partners. The most common data collection methods reported were manual paper form or non-real time data upload, while data was most commonly exchanged through the internet or a network. Nearly 78% of programs reported using their data for statistical analysis to monitor rates or patterns, while 46% of programs were engaged in cluster investigations. Two-thirds of programs were engaged in research or data projects using their data. Conclusions: Variability exists between states in the ways they collect data and their method of data exchange with partners and data sources, with state laws and regulations determining the information that is able to be shared and accessed. Through the strengthening of partnerships and creating a more efficient and effective two-way data exchange system, it can potentially serve as a basis for increasing funding support, increasing data sources, and improving the overall birth defects surveillance system.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss current status of state birth defects surveillance programs. Identify how states are using technology to share and exchange surveillance data. Identify opportunities for surveillance programs to become more effective and efficient.

Keyword(s): Birth Defects, Data/Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the the Senior Analyst, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). In this capacity, I support grant funded projects which focus on chronic disease and maternal and child health topics. Specifically, my maternal and child health interests are in assessing state health department activities related to preterm birth, infant mortality, and birth defects surveillance.
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.

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