EpiAnywhere™ is an easy-to-use Web-enabled surveillance tool for supporting public health programs at the national, state, and local levels internationally and in the United States. The application collects information at an individual-case level and forwards required reporting to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or the World Health Organization (WHO).
EpiAnywhere™ also provides the subscribing country, state, or jurisdiction with reliable and valid statistical analyses of the data. Data are validated at the point of data entry, which improves data quality and timeliness of data. Case validation and managerial approval of case reports are included in the system workflow, which decreases the number of lost cases and the number of cases rejected by the CDC. Users have immediate access to an extensive set of available reports that include the most recent submitted data. This reduces the workload demands on overloaded epidemiologists and improves the timeliness of statistical analyses and their utility in managing disease control and treatment efforts.
EpiAnywhere™ has been built first to support tuberculosis (TB) surveillance in the United States and internationally. As such, examples from the TB component are used in this description offering specific examples of the potential of EpiAnywhere™.
What EpiAnywhere™ Does
- Improves the standardization and validation of case data collection. Computerized data entry using prescribed lists and choices for item response make it easier for users to enter correct data values. Built-in validation routines catch data entry errors immediately. Final form reviews check an entire form upon save or submission. The result is vastly improved quality and reliability of your surveillance data.
- Improves the timeliness of surveillance data and reporting. From both urban and remote areas, data collected and subsequent reporting are now available in real time. Information that formerly could have taken months or even years to acquire, validate, analyze, and distribute is now available immediately.
- Improves the accessibility of surveillance data collection and reporting. Users require only a browser to access and use EpiAnywhere™, and data collection, submission, reporting, and analysis are all accessible through the same application interface. Any computer that meets security requirements of the local health authority can be given secure access.
- Houses surveillance data in a secure, centralized database and data center managed by the developer. This feature relieves in-house technology staff of the burden of system development, installation, and maintenance of a surveillance solution. It also reduces the resources needed to complete required CDC and/or WHO reporting, because after-the-fact pulling and abstracting of case files is no longer necessary.
- Provides immediate access to carefully prepared, statistically valid surveillance, program management, and other analytic reporting using current and historical data. In addition to tracking basic surveillance statistics, EpiAnywhere™ reporting facilitates the management and evaluation of patient care and provides the ability to monitor and evaluate program processes and outcomes. If available in electronic format, historical data also can be integrated into EpiAnywhere™ for more comprehensive analysis and reporting. If no prior electronic data exist, historical records may be entered just like current cases.
- Offers flexible data query functions allowing users to drill down into their data and conduct exploratory epidemiologic analysis
Benefits for Epidemiologists and Public Health Professionals
EpiAnywhere™ is a surveillance tool for local-, state-, or regional-level public health officials. It is designed to bring easy-to-understand and statistically reliable analysis tools to places where there are too few trained epidemiologists to provide public health program managers with guidance on allocation of treatment and preventive resources or the impact of measures taken. EpiAnywhere™ provides a suite of pre-formatted surveillance reports that frees your epidemiologist to do more—or helps fill the gap if you don’t have an epidemiologist. Downloads and ad hoc query tools are also available for epidemiologists to build their analyses.
EpiAnywhere™ collects case record data for each individual. Unlike aggregated statistics, case-level data offer the ability to associate disease status with co-morbid disorders, exposure factors, and other risks in cohort studies or outbreak investigations, providing more powerful predictive tools for both epidemiologists and public health managers.
Comparing EpiAnywhere™ to Other Solutions
“As budgets shrink, we need to use technology to manage TB control more efficiently. Sophisticated, real-time program assessment and evaluation is what EpiAnywhere.net offers TB programs, expanding what can be done with limited resources. Feedback to program staff, program planning, interventions, and advocacy is the foundation of a good program and that starts with understanding your data.”
L. Masae Kawamura, MD
San Francisco TB Control Section
Department of Public Health
- We manage all aspects of the hosted service from our secure data center. This means that EpiAnywhere™ offers low-cost start-up and operation, with a “zero footprint” computing presence and no burden on your IT resources. For most jurisdictions, EpiAnywhere™ is cheaper to acquire and cheaper to run than developing and maintaining a system in-house.
- The interface is easy to learn. Convenient context-sensitive “Help” buttons guide users when they get confused. Our technical support is available via e-mail.
- Built-in data entry validation reduces errors and costs of correcting records.
- Security and privacy safeguards comply with the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Public Health Services Act, with role-based access you can designate for each user.
Additional and/or Co-Morbid Disorders: We can add diseases to EpiAnywhere™, providing greater utility and a short learning curve while, at the same time, enhancing co-morbidity analysis with existing EpiAnywhere™ diseases.
Off-line Data Entry Mode: To enable field use and remote area use, EpiAnywhere™ can run off-line, then update automatically whenever an Internet connection is re-established.
Expanded Surveillance Reports: We can add to EpiAnywhere™’s list of pre-formatted surveillance reports to meet your needs for more sophisticated analyses.
Multi-lingual Versions: We can translate EpiAnywhere™ into most languages.
Smart Phones: We can provide an optional interface that runs on handheld devices.
Geographic Information System (GIS) Epidemiology: We can combine GIS analysis with surveillance data for hotspot identification and spatial analysis of case trends.
EpiAnywhere™ is an expanded version of the TBAnywhere.net system that was jointly developed and implemented by JBS International, Inc., and Looking Glass Analytics, with funding from the CDC.