Automatic electronic laboratory-based reporting of notifiable infectious diseases at a large health system
Electronic laboratory-based reporting, developed by the UPMC Health System, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was evaluated to determine if it could be integrated into the conventional paper-based reporting system. We reviewed reports of 10 infectious diseases from 8 UPMC hospitals that reported to the Allegheny County Health Department in southwestern Pennsylvania during January 1-November 26, 2000. Electronic reports were received a median of 4 days earlier than conventional reports. The completeness of reporting was 74% (95% confidence interval [CI] 66% to 81%) for the electronic laboratory-based reporting and 65% (95% CI 57% to 73%) for the conventional paper-based reporting system (p>0.05). Most reports (88%) missed by electronic laboratory-based reporting were caused by using free text. Automatic reporting was more rapid and as complete as conventional reporting. Using standardized coding and minimizing free text usage will increase the completeness of electronic laboratory-based reporting.