The National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) facilitates electronically transferring public health surveillance data from the healthcare system to public health departments. It is a conduit for exchanging information that supports NNDSS. Today, when states and territories voluntarily submit notifiable disease surveillance data electronically to CDC, they use data standards and electronic disease information systems and resources supported in part by NEDSS. This ensures that state data shared with CDC are submitted quickly, securely and in an understandable form. NEDSS helps connect the healthcare system to public health departments and those health departments to CDC by
- providing leadership and resources to state and local health departments to adopt standards-based systems needed to support national disease surveillance strategy;
- enabling health agencies to use information technology more effectively by developing patient-centered systems that helps health departments identify issues such as co-morbidities (multiple disease or conditions) that occur in the same individual over time;
- defining the content (i.e., disease diagnosis, risk factor information, lab confirmation results, and patient demographics) of messages sent using the HL7 messaging standard;
- implementing content standards that the healthcare industry currently uses (e.g., LOINC as the standard for transmitting laboratory test names and SNOMED as the standard for transmitting test results) for increased interoperability between states and the healthcare industry; and
- providing the NEDSS Base System (NBS), a CDC-developed information system, to help reporting jurisdictions manage reportable disease data and send notifiable diseases data to CDC using Public Health Information Network (PHIN) standards.
Today, 46 states, New York City, and Washington, D.C., use a NEDSS-compatible system to send case notifications to NNDSS. To be considered NEDSS compatible, states must have information systems meeting these requirements:
- disease data entry directly through an Internet browser-based system, thereby creating a database accessible by health investigators and public health professionals,
- Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR) that enables labs to report cases to health departments,
- integration of multiple health information databases into a single repository, and
- electronic messaging capabilities, enabling states to share information efficiently with CDC and other health agencies.
Tools that support NEDSS are:
- The NEDSS Base System (NBS) provides reporting jurisdictions with a NEDSS-compatible information system to facilitate transferring health, laboratory, and clinical data efficiently and securely over the Internet. NBS also provides public health authorities with a tool for processing, analyzing, and sharing of data they receive. Built and maintained by CDC, NBS provides reporting jurisdictions with a Web-based patient-focused system that can integrate data on multiple health conditions and multiple patients to help state and local public health officials identify and track multiple diseases, even if they are in the same patient. The NBS also provides reporting jurisdictions support for managing disease outbreaks and identifying when patients might be counted more than once. NBS also helps jurisdictions prepare data for geographic analysis through geocoding, reporting, etc., to support communicable disease surveillance activities. Further, NBS helps jurisdictions use NEDSS standards when sending information to CDC about notifiable diseases and conditions. NBS is currently the system of choice for transferring general communicable disease surveillance data in 22 reporting jurisdictions (19 states, Washington, D.C., Guam and the US Virgin Islands). NBS capabilities advance increased adoption of public health standards (including Public Health Information Network (PHIN), and vocabulary standards such as LOINC, SNOMED, and HL7) by providing best practices in the implementation of public health standards and interoperability used by state and local public health departments.
- Messaging and Vocabulary Services helps NEDSS to ensure that data from many sources (state and local health departments, hospitals, private health providers, and labs) contain standard content and have standard formatting with disease-specific information. These tools are especially important as CDC and other public health authorities work with labs, hospitals, and other health providers to implement Meaningful Use standards. The following systems support standard data message and vocabulary standards for NNDSS:
- Message Subscription Services (MSS) are a set of Web-based services that provide reporting jurisdictions with an easy-to-use tool that translates, standardizes, and validates laboratory and case notification data messages received in multiple formats from within the jurisdiction. MSS provides standard tools and resources that users can configure for their needs and share with other users. MSS ensures that reporting jurisdiction data meet local program needs as well as CDC program standards.
- Message Mapping Guides (MMG) summarize the data elements in messages that are shared among state and federal public health entities and enable reporting jurisdictions to map the data from state public health surveillance information systems to CDC case notification variables.
- Message Quality Framework (MQF) is a CDC data-validation tool. Using MQF helps hospitals, providers, labs, health departments, and others ensure that the data messages they exchange are structured correctly and contain the correct information to support disease reporting to state health departments. Using MQF also aids state health departments in testing the quality of the data messages they share with CDC.
- The Public Health Information Network (PHIN) provides messaging, vocabulary, and certification resources to support NEDSS. Learn more about the PHIN tools on the CDC PHIN website. Specific PHIN tools include: