Innovative technology for web-based data management during an outbreak

Shamir N Mukhi


Lack of automated and integrated data collection and management, and poor linkage of clinical, epidemiological and laboratory data during an outbreak can inhibit effective and timely outbreak investigation and response. This paper describes an innovative web-based technology, referred to as Web Data, developed for the rapid set-up and provision of interactive and adaptive data management during outbreak situations. We also describe the benefits and limitations of the Web Data technology identified through a questionnaire that was developed to evaluate the use of Web Data implementation and application during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic by Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Provincial Laboratory for Public Health of Alberta. Some of the main benefits include: improved and secure data access, increased efficiency and reduced error, enhanced electronic collection and transfer of data, rapid creation and modification of the database, conversion of specimen-level to case-level data, and user-defined data extraction and query capabilities. Areas requiring improvement include: better understanding of privacy policies, increased capability for data sharing and linkages between jurisdictions to alleviate data entry duplication.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *