IT Needs of Disease Surveillance

Description of the Software Architecture of Surveillance System and associated Surveillance Activities in West Virginia Office of Epidemiology

The West Virginia Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WVEDSS) is a web-based electronic reporting system that serves local and states public health departments, and West Virginia Hospitals. The system provides electronic reporting of diseases and enhances surveillance, detection, and response activities to most infectious diseases in West Virginia. Eligible professionals are enrolled to provide reports on immunization data, electronic laboratory data, syndromic surveillance data, and cancer data with the aim of improving the efficiency of WVEDSS (Gebbie et al., 2003).

The changing requirements of rapidly spreading infections have triggered the development of software architecture based on a framework that enhances data collection from mobile devices and further analyses them in a centralized repository. The National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) facilitates the transfer of surveillance data from the source to the relevant departments (Gebbie & Turnock, 2006). The organization uses the system as a conduit for the exchange of information with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In case of a national phenomenon, the data shared with the CDC are submitted quickly and securely to the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), which is a national system that connects the health care system to public health departments (Lombardo & Buckeridge, 2007). The West Virginia Office in collaboration with the CDC utilizes the NNDSS to ensure monitoring and prevention of disease outbreaks. The system also acts as a reliable source of state and national health statistics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008).

Needs of the Organization

The recommended system in this office is a networked application with broad-based information. There is a need to have current, secure, and accurate data on diseases, for example, sexually transmitted diseases, diabetes, heart diseases, and all forms of cancer. This data will enable the organization to provide valid, reliable, consistent, and complete information to combat existing epidemics and develop measures to mitigate problems before they arise. In order to systematically detect and monitor local and global epidemiological trends and populations, there is also a need to integrate patient information.

Broad-Based Information Access

A consistent process is followed in public health surveillance. The cycle entails three stages: data collection, analysis & interpretation, and timely dissemination of findings. Hence, I would propose an enhanced software that improves the graphical presentation of data and statistical reporting as in the case with the InstantAtlas software (InstantAtlas, 2008). Establishing the prevalence and incidence rates of various diseases and associated characteristics and behaviors of the victims requires expert analysis of the data collected. Data analysis is augmented by interpretation (Hoffmann, 1999). Public health surveillance calls for the presentation of information to beneficiaries. The dissemination gives insight into program planning and decision-making purposes. Therefore, improved software that can segregate information accurately to allow ease in presentation and comprehension of data (InstantAtlas, 2011).

Proposed Architectural Features

A system installed with Field Medical Surveillance System with the capability package will suit the organization. It synchronizes the efficiency of the hardware and software to make real-time telemedicine a reality (Abdelhak, Grostick, Hankin & Jacobs, 1996). The system is equipped with a blood group tracking system and a wireless information management system that integrates information into the Global Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON).


The IT systems play a significant role in capturing, storing, managing, or transmitting information related to health within the West Virginia Office. Nonetheless, the efficiency of this system to allow effective data analysis and presentation prompts the installation of improved software architecture. In addition, such software architecture will aid in the early identification of disease outbreaks and subsequently help to apply prompt mitigation measures.


Abdelhak, M., Grostick, S., Hankin, M. A., & Jacobs, E. (1996). Health information: Management of a strategic resource. Philadelphia: WB Saunders.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Emergency preparedness and response. Web.

Gebbie, K.M., Merrill, J., Hwang, I., Gebbie, E. N., & Gupta, M. (2003). The public health workforce in the year 2000. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 9(1), 79-86.

Gebbie, K., & Turnock, B. (2006). The public health workforce, 2006: New challenges. Health Affairs, 25(4), 923-933.

Hoffmann, T. (1999). The meanings of competency. Journal of European industrial Training, 23(6), 275-286.

InstantAtlas. (2011). Public health reporting. Web.

InstantAtlas. (2008). Sheffield PCT: Case study. Web.

Lombardo, J.S., & Buckeridge, D.L. (Eds.). (2007). Disease surveillance: A public health informatics approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley interscience.

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