Development and Implementation of an Electronic Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) System in Dutchess County, New York

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Continental Ballroom
Audrey M. Waltner, MPH , Division of Health Information, Planning and Education, Dutchess County Department of Health, Poughkeepsie, NY
Andrew S. Evans Jr , Division of Communicable Diseases, Dutchess County Department of Health, Poughkeepsie, NY
Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH , Dutchess County Department of Health, Poughkeepsie, NY

Currently STD MIS is the only electronic tool for analysis of STD program work, but it is not entirely functional for the investigative process.

To develop and implement a comprehensive electronic STD system that will reduce an STD investigator's administrative hours and increase accurate data flow.

Interface between data elements, investigation process, and reporting forms were analyzed to develop a Microsoft Access application that ensures accurate and reliable links between data elements. Design was heavily influenced by the need to configure reports to match NY State health department forms. Data entry safeguards and prompts were built into the screens to reduce data entry error and protect the database window. Search features for data retrieval, navigation, and report selection were made “one click driven” or “drop down list select”. A restricted access supervisor data management screen was incorporated. The database was password protected and placed on a restricted server.

The database was implemented in March 2007, using live data. The database has (1) considerably reduced redundant data entry by use of a single demographic screen, (2) increased data accuracy and facilitated data entry through use of drop down lists for commonly used data options, (3) generated all required NY State health department reports and multi-lingual patient letters via simple one click prompts, (4) facilitated supervisor and staff administrative duties, (5) ensured confidentiality via password protection and restricted server access, (6) allowed simultaneous multi-user data entry.

This database has greatly reduced manual paperwork, increased accuracy of clinical data and improved the flow and communication of information, thereby allowing public health advisors to better focus on investigative activities.

Development of a similar system on a National level, with possible linkages to STD MIS and other data systems could potentially improve data communication and reduce staff time spent in administrative duties.
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