Expansion of the I-NEDSS Pilot

Open Call to Local Health Departments:
Expansion of the I-NEDSS Pilot

The Indiana National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS) Project Team is expanding the I-NEDSS pilot. An open call was issued on September 12 with the goal of adding four-nine local health departments (LHD) to the existing pilot group (Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson, Putnam, Floyd, and Kosciusko Counties).  The pilot participants will review and provide feedback on the I-NEDSS application as a tool for processing and reporting communicable disease investigations. The pilot is anticipated to start on November 3 and run through the end of 2008. More information on the pilot expansion and the application process can be found in the I-NEDSS Pilot Plan, which is posted on the LHD Resource Web site at https://myshare.in.gov/isdh/lhdresource/default.aspx. The deadline for application to the I-NEDSS Pilot is October 10.

I-NEDSS is a Web-based application that promotes the collection, integration, and sharing of data at federal, state, and local levels. The purpose of I-NEDSS is to automate the current process for reportable diseases.  The system will include lab reports, communicable disease reports (CDR), and case investigations. Eventually, I-NEDSS will replace the paper-based reporting and case investigation system currently in use. Benefits of I-NEDSS include increased speed, accuracy, and accountability with reportable disease surveillance, since all reporting and investigation forms are accessed, completed, and submitted electronically.

The Notification Module, released in I-NEDSS v2, focuses on the communication of lab reports and CDRs to the appropriate investigative unit at the local or state level.  The role of moving communications among the various entities, including reference labs, hospital infection preventionists (IP), LHDs, field epidemiologists, and the subject matter epidemiologists, was piloted for functionality and accuracy.

The Case Investigation Module, released in I-NEDSS v3, focuses on the completion and electronic submission of a case investigation.  Additional enhancements are planned that will allow LHDs to perform historical and quality assurance report queries.  The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) will report case investigations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a similar manner as they are reported currently.

The pilot project is being expanded to help ensure that I-NEDSS meets the needs of the LHDs and to allow for feedback from additional LHDs who will join the I-NEDSS Project Team in evaluating I-NEDSS.

The I-NEDSS Project Team will be responsible for selecting LHDs to participate in the expanded pilot. Selection criteria are listed below in priority order:

1) Commitment from the LHDs: The I-NEDSS Project Team is looking to measure commitment of the LHD in executing the goals of the pilot. To meet these goals, commitments must be secured from the Local Health Officer and administrative staff, as well as from the front-line nursing staff who will be performing the investigations. The I-NEDSS Project Team is testing a deployment model for disease surveillance that focuses on local commitment and buy-in as it relates to hospitals, physicians, and LHDs, with the LHD taking the lead in securing commitments from organizations that report disease surveillance data directly to the LHD. The I-NEDSS Project Team is looking for a high level of commitment from the LHD to make this project a success.

2) Source of Data: As mentioned above, the source(s) of data provided to I-NEDSS is important. CDRs are a key factor in initiating an investigation, and for a majority of the LHDs, it will be the only method for gathering electronic data. Laboratory data are currently available at the state level, but coverage areas beyond the Indiana Network for Patient Care remain spotty at best. The more partnerships a LHD is able to form with hospital IPs and local health care providers who will submit the CDRs, the better the chances will be for success.

3) Availability for Training: Training for the LHDs participating in the expanded pilot will be conducted in person during a two-week period in late October. LHDs that can commit to training of key personnel during this time period will be favored. LHDs that can organize training in conjunction with local hospital personnel will be given priority.

4) Number of Investigations: The ability to demonstrate a high average number of investigations per month will be weighted as a priority. This criterion is a lower priority, but it would be beneficial for the LHDs to have a steady stream of investigations for which they can utilize the I-NEDSS application. A greater volume of investigations would enhance the LHDs’ ability to evaluate and improve I-NEDSS.

5) Geographic Location: LHDs that share a border with any of the existing pilot counties, Hamilton, Hendricks, Johnson, Putnam, Floyd, and Kosciusko, will be favored in this category.

Selections will be made based on the above criteria; however, rankings will not be published. All LHDs that apply should expect to learn the status of their application by mid-October 2008. Counties that are not selected for the expanded pilot will be eligible for the first round of statewide rollout in 2009.

If you cannot access the I-NEDSS Pilot Plan posted on the LHD Resource Web site, please contact the I-NEDSS Project Team directly at I-NEDSS@isdh.in.gov.