Evolution of an Integrated Public Health Surveillance System
Source:J Registry Manag. 38(1):15-23.
Medical Record Linkage
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4870589
Funding:P30 CA006973/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
UR3/CCU324750/CC/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
Description:There is a growing recognition in maternal and child health of the importance of social, behavioral, biological, and genetic factors across the entire life course. Unfortunately, most state maternal and child health surveillance systems are not designed to readily address longitudinal research questions or track and follow children across multiple programs over time. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recently integrated its birth defects registry, newborn hearing screening tracking and management system, and electronic birth certificate (EBC) into a robust, Web-based surveillance system called the Virginia Vital Events and Screening Tracking System (VVESTS). Completely redesigning the existing birth defects and newborn hearing screening system (the Virginia Infant Screening and Infant Tracking System--VISITS I) with minimal disruption of ongoing reporting presented a number of challenges. Because VVESTS had different requirements such as required fields and data validations, extensive data preparation was required to ensure that existing VISITS I data would be included in the new system (VISITS II). Efforts included record deduplication, conversion of free text fields into discrete variables, dealing with missing/invalid data, and linkage with birth certificate data. VISITS II serves multiple program needs; improves data quality and security; automates linkages within families, across programs, and over time; and improves the ability of VDH to provide children with birth defects and their families necessary follow-up services and enhanced care coordination.
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