Improving Notifiable Disease Case Reporting Through Electronic Information Exchange-Facilitated Decision Support: A Controlled Before-and-After Trial

Public Health Rep. 2020 May/Jun;135(3):401-410. doi: 10.1177/0033354920914318. Epub 2020 Apr 6.


Objective: Outbreak detection and disease control may be improved by simplified, semi-automated reporting of notifiable diseases to public health authorities. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of an electronic, prepopulated notifiable disease report form on case reporting rates by ambulatory care clinics to public health authorities.

Methods: We conducted a 2-year (2012-2014) controlled before-and-after trial of a health information exchange (HIE) intervention in Indiana designed to prepopulate notifiable disease reporting forms to providers. We analyzed data collected from electronic prepopulated reports and "usual care" (paper, fax) reports submitted to a local health department for 7 conditions by using a difference-in-differences model. Primary outcomes were changes in reporting rates, completeness, and timeliness between intervention and control clinics.

Results: Provider reporting rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea in intervention clinics increased significantly from 56.9% and 55.6%, respectively, during the baseline period (2012) to 66.4% and 58.3%, respectively, during the intervention period (2013-2014); they decreased from 28.8% and 27.5%, respectively, to 21.7% and 20.6%, respectively, in control clinics (P < .001). Completeness improved from baseline to intervention for 4 of 15 fields in reports from intervention clinics (P < .001), although mean completeness improved for 11 fields in both intervention and control clinics. Timeliness improved for both intervention and control clinics; however, reports from control clinics were timelier (mean, 7.9 days) than reports from intervention clinics (mean, 9.7 days).

Conclusions: Electronic, prepopulated case reporting forms integrated into providers' workflow, enabled by an HIE network, can be effective in increasing notifiable disease reporting rates and completeness of information. However, it was difficult to assess the effect of using the forms for diseases with low prevalence (eg, salmonellosis, histoplasmosis).

Keywords: health information exchange; infectious disease reporting; public health surveillance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration*
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / standards
  • Controlled Before-After Studies
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Collection / standards
  • Disease Notification / methods*
  • Disease Notification / standards
  • Electronic Health Records / organization & administration*
  • Electronic Health Records / standards
  • Health Information Exchange / standards*
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Socioeconomic Factors