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The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), administered from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has collected well over half a million disease notifications from States and Territories over the last decade. This information has been collected electronically, consolidated and reported in Communicable Diseases Intelligence every issue.
The electronic dataset for disease notifications has been in use since 1991 and has not been significantly updated in this time. In the past, this dataset has been more a recommendation to States and Territories rather than a rigid specification. As such, a 'best attempt' approach has been adopted in delivering the data to the Commonwealth. This has resulted in a multitude of logistical problems with interpreting, translating and consolidating notifications into a uniform dataset for analysis by epidemiological staff.
The Surveillance and Management Section at NCDC has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve the timeliness and quality of surveillance data for analysis and dissemination.
The success of these new initiatives will depend on each State and Territory's ability to make the appropriate changes to their IT systems and revise their workflows and procedures in order to handle the changed information requirements. All of this will require consultation and adequate preparation time.
Further information can be obtained by telephoning either Alison Milton on (02) 6289 8245.
This article was published in Communicable Diseases Intelligence Volume 24, No 2, 17 February 2000.
Communicable Diseases Surveillance
Communicable Diseases Intelligence