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Development of a WebBased Integrated Birth Defects Surveillance System in New York State

Wang, Ying MPH, PhD; Tao, Zhen MD, PhD; Cross, Philip K. BS; Le, Linh H. MD, PhD, MPH; Steen, Patricia M. BS; Babcock, Gwen D. MS; Druschel, Charlotte M. MD; Hwang, Syni-An PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: November/December 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 6 - p E1–E10
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000338377.83736.9c
Original Article

Background: Over the past decade, the Internet has become a powerful and effective tool for public health surveillance. The objectives of this project were to develop secure Web-based applications for Birth Defects Surveillance and to integrate them into routine surveillance activities of the New York State (NYS) Congenital Malformations Registry (CMR).

Methods: The Web-based applications were developed on infrastructure of New York State Health Provider Network using JAVA programming language. In addition, SAS/IntrNet software (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC) was also used to leverage the data analysis and processing capabilities of SAS for generating real-time reports and performing statistical and spatial analyses.

Results: Congenital Malformations Registry staff have developed and implemented a Web-based integrated birth defect surveillance system, which enables staff to routinely perform surveillance activities including monitoring the quality, timeliness, and completeness of case reporting by hospitals; matching the CMR cases to the vital records; conducting trends analysis on birth defect prevalence and mortality with data query and visualization capabilities; and performing temporal and spatial analysis.

Conclusions: The CMR's Web-based integrated birth defects surveillance system empowers authorized users to perform routine surveillance activities using only a PC and a Web browser. This system will help NYS public health professionals and epidemiologists perform trend analyses and identify possible clusters of birth defects in space and time that may be related to environmental toxins.

Ying Wang, MPH, PhD, is Research Scientist, Congenital Malformations Registry, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy; and Assistant Professor with School of Public Health, New York State University, Albany.

Zhen Tao, MD, PhD, is Associate Computer programmer, Congenital Malformations Registry, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy.

Philip K. Cross, BS, is Director, Congenital Malformations Registry, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy.

Linh H. Le, MD, PhD, MPH, is Research Scientist, Bureau of HEALTHCOM Network Systems Management, Information Systems & Health Statistics Group, New York State Department of Health.

Patricia M. Steen, BS, is Research Scientist, Congenital Malformations Registry, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy.

Gwen D. Babcock, MS, is Research Scientist, Environmental Health Surveillance Section, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy, New York.

Charlotte M. Druschel, MD, is Medical Director, Congenital Malformations Registry, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy; and Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, New York State University, Albany.

Syni-An Hwang, PhD, is Director, Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health; Assistant Professor with School of Public Health, New York State University, Albany.

Corresponding Author: Ying Wang, MPH, PhD, Congenital Malformations Registry, Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Flanigan Sq, 547 River St, Troy, NY 12180 (wxy01@health.state.ny.us).

This project was supported in part by the Environmental Public Health Tracking grant no. 15032301, funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.