Tests to Evaluate Public Health Disease Reporting Systems in Local Public Health Agencies

Tests to Evaluate Public Health Disease Reporting Systems in Local Public Health Agencies

David J. Dausey
Nicole Lurie
Alexis Diamond
Barbara Meade
Roger C. Molander
Karen Ricci
Michael A. Stoto
Jeffrey Wasserman
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 96
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  • Book Info
    Tests to Evaluate Public Health Disease Reporting Systems in Local Public Health Agencies
    Book Description:

    This operations manual provides public health agencies with a set of standardized proficiency tests to aid in the development of regular and consistent strategies for testing the ability of public health disease reporting systems to receive and respond to case reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4113-5
    Subjects: Health Sciences, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. iv-v)
  4. Table of Figures
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Table of Tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. viii-viii)
  7. Chapter 1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    This manual is designed to aid in the development ofproficiency tests¹ intended to evaluate the ability of public health disease reporting systems atlocal public health agencies(LPHA) to receive and respond tocase reports24 hours a day, 7 days a week (24/7). Its four primary objectives are to:

    • Serve as a guidebook for planning a test

    • Serve as a training and reference manual for individuals conducting a test

    • Provide tools and templates necessary to conduct the tests

    • Provide benchmarks to evaluate testing performance.

    The goal of these tests is to assess whether a LPHA has sufficient proficiency...

  8. Chapter 2. Testing Public Health Disease Reporting Systems
    (pp. 3-10)

    Public health disease reporting systemsare systems developed by public health agencies to receive and respond to cases reported to them by healthcare professionals that have public health significance. The CDC recommends telephone calls as the preferred method for public health agencies to receive case reports of an urgent nature (CDC, 2003). Theseconcerning casesor urgent cases represent potential public health threats that need to be responded to immediately. Calls regarding concerning cases can come from a variety of places and individuals, including infectious disease practitioners at local hospitals, doctors in private practice, and nurses working at nursing homes....

  9. Chapter 3. Planning a Test
    (pp. 11-18)

    A successful test is the result of good planning. A number of factors should be considered before testing including the unique characteristics of the public health agency to be tested (e.g., size of agency, number of affiliated hospitals, urban versus rural, etc.), choosing an appropriate test (e.g., level of difficulty, number of calls, using a disguise, etc.), and the staffing needs of the test. This chapter describes how to successfully plan a test. Figure 3.1 highlights the framework for these activities.

    The categories of staff needed to develop and conduct a test include:

    • Supervisor

    • Testing coordinator (may be the same...

  10. Chapter 4. Training to Conduct a Test
    (pp. 19-23)

    Callers should be trained before they begin calling any public health agency participating in a test. This chapter outlines strategies that can be used by trainers to train callers and provides resources and materials for call training. A train-the-trainer approach is suggested for training large groups of callers. Training builds a caller’s skill and confidence and minimizes errors that could potentially evoke a false alarm. Figure 4.1 highlights the three main aspects of training: preparing for a test, learning to debrief, and practice and observation.

    The trainer has several responsibilities, including

    • Organizing and planning training sessions

    • Preparing training materials

    • Reviewing...

  11. Chapter 5. Conducting a Test
    (pp. 24-29)

    After a test has been chosen and planned and training is complete, testing is ready to begin. This chapter outlines a set of tools and templates that callers can use in conducting tests. Figure 5.1 presents a framework for conducting a test.

    All calls in all levels begin with similar initiating procedures. The only difference is whether or not a disguise is used in the lead-in. After reaching an action officer:

    • Level 1 callback respondents are immediately debriefed. Nothing else is requested of them.

    • Level 2 callback respondents are immediately debriefed; however, they are asked a series of procedural questions....

  12. Chapter 6. Assessing Test Performance
    (pp. 30-35)

    Once a test has been completed, procedures should be in place for evaluating the performance of the participating public health agency and providing constructive feedback in the form of an after-action report. Anafter-action reportsummarizes the public health agency’s performance in the test. A sample after-action report is provided in Appendix I.

    The testing coordinator is responsible for generating these reports. The testing coordinator should compile the results of both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the test. Quantitative aspects of the test include the median response time that respondents took to return the calls, the percentage of calls...

  13. Chapter 7. Establishing a Regular System of Testing
    (pp. 36-38)

    Public health disease reporting systems are critical parts of the infrastructure of all public health agencies. To ensure that these systems are functioning properly, it is necessary to evaluate them regularly. The CDC recommends that public health agencies develop regular, formal, standardized protocols of unannounced testing for their public health disease reporting systems and that these systems be tested at least annually.

    The test templates discussed in this manual are meant to assist public health agencies in achieving this aim. Public health agencies need to regularly test their public health disease reporting systems for a variety of reasons, including

    • Staff...

  14. Appendix A. Terminology
    (pp. 39-41)
  15. Appendix B. Training Session 1 Materials
    (pp. 42-44)
  16. Appendix C. Training Session 2 Materials
    (pp. 45-53)
  17. Appendix D. Answers to Knowledge Assessments
    (pp. 54-57)
  18. Appendix E: Testing Template Materials
    (pp. 58-65)
  19. Appendix F. Sample Data Collection Materials
    (pp. 66-70)
  20. Appendix G. CDC Performance Criteria for Public Health Disease Reporting Systems Operating 24/7
    (pp. 71-80)
  21. Appendix H. Frequently Asked Questions
    (pp. 81-85)
  22. Appendix I. Sample After-Action Report
    (pp. 86-86)
  23. References
    (pp. 87-87)