Survey among local health departments concerning the implementation of the new infectious disease reporting system
Brodhun, B.; Kramer, M.H.; Krause, G.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 47(8): 755-761
The Infectious Disease Control Act enacted in Germany in January 2001 led to the establishment of a new reporting system for infectious disease. The implementation of this system was evaluated to identify opportunities for further improvement. In a survey of all German local health departments the following criteria were analyzed: resources (staff and technical equipment), information needs (satisfaction with current offers/further training requirements), data analysis (extent of local data analysis/feedback of national data), and acceptability (case definitions/electronic reporting). In local health departments, 11% of the staff were assigned to the infectious disease reporting system. Data were processed mainly by nonmedical staff (78.4%). A computer work-station is available for most staff members. One-third of the local health departments uses the RKI software "[email protected]" for data transmission. All others use commercial software. Experience with the electronic reporting system was rated as very good/good by 47.1% of local health departments, as satisfactory by 44.5%, and as problematic by 8.4%. Most of the local health departments were satisfied with the offers of information provided by RKI (96.4%) and state health departments (83.7%), respectively. However, 49.1% of the local health departments saw a need for further education and training. The implementation of case definitions was supported by 95% of the local health departments, but transmission criteria were criticized. In summary, the new infectious disease reporting system in Germany was successfully implemented. However, the system could be improved through reduction of software problems concerning electronic data processing and transmission, expansion of current offers of in-formation and provision of special staff training programs, and revision of the case definitions concerning clearness and simpler handling.