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Urgent Care Providers' Knowledge and Attitude About Public Health Reporting and Pertussis Control Measures: Implications for Informatics

Staes, Catherine J. BSN, MPH, PhD; Gesteland, Per H. MS, MD; Allison, Mandy MD; Mottice, Susan PhD; Rubin, Michael MD; Shakib, Julie H. DO, MPH; Boulton, Rachelle MSPH; Wuthrich, Amyanne MS; Carter, Marjorie E. MPH; Leecaster, Molly PhD; Samore, Matthew H. MD; Byington, Carrie L. MD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: November/December 2009 - Volume 15 - Issue 6 - p 471–478
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3181af0aab
Article

Objectives: We assessed urgent care providers' knowledge about public health reporting, guidelines, and actions for the prevention and control of pertussis; attitudes about public health reporting and population-based data; and perception of reporting practices in their clinic.

Methods: We identified the 106 providers (95% are physicians) employed in 28 urgent care clinics owned by Intermountain Healthcare located throughout Utah and Southern Idaho. We performed a descriptive, cross-sectional survey and assessed providers' knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors associated with population-based data and public health mandates and recommendations. The online survey was completed between November 1, 2007, and February 29, 2008.

Results: Among 63 practicing urgent care providers (60% response rate), 19 percent knew that clinically diagnosed pertussis was reportable, and only half (52%) the providers correctly responded about current pertussis vaccination recommendations. Most (35%–78%) providers did not know the prevention and control measures performed by public health practitioners after reporting occurs, including contact tracing, testing, treatment, and prophylaxis. Half (48%) the providers did not know that health department personnel can prescribe antibiotics for contacts of a reported case, and only 22 percent knew that health department personnel may perform diagnostic testing on contacts. Attitudes about reporting are variable, and reporting responsibility is diffused.

Conclusion: To improve our ability to meet public health goals, systems need to be designed that engage urgent care providers in the public health process, improve their knowledge and attitude about reporting, and facilitate the flow of information between urgent care and public health settings.

This study assessed urgent care providers' knowledge about public health reporting, guidelines, and actions for the prevention and control of pertussis; attitude about reporting and population-based data; and perception of reporting practices in their clinic.

Catherine J. Staes, BSN, MPH, PhD, is faculty in Department of Biomedical Informatics, School of Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Per H. Gesteland, MS, MD, is with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, and Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City.

Mandy Allison, MD, is with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Susan Mottice, PhD, is with the Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City.

Michael Rubin, MD, is with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Julie H. Shakib, DO, MPH, is with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Rachelle Boulton, MSPH, is with the Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City.

Amyanne Wuthrich, MS, is with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Marjorie E. Carter, MPH, is with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Molly Leecaster, PhD, is with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Matthew H. Samore, MD, is with the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Utah, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salt Lake City.

Carrie L. Byington, MD, is with the Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Corresponding Author: Catherine J. Staes, BSN, MPH, PhD, Department of Biomedical Informatics, University of Utah, HSEB Ste 5515E, 26 S 2000 E, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112 (Catherine.Staes@hsc.utah.edu).

This research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Utah Center of Excellence in Public Health Informatics (grant # 1P01CD000284-01). The authors thank Intermountain Healthcare for supporting this research. This work was supported in part by training grant # LM007124 from the National Library of Medicine (Dr Staes) and by grant K24-HD047249 from the National Institutes of Health/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Dr Byington). All authors helped to conceptualize ideas, create the survey design and questionnaire, interpret findings, and review drafts and the final manuscript. A. Wuthrich and M. Carter pilot tested the questionnaire, created the online survey, and managed implementation of the survey. P. Gesteland and M. Allison summarized the study results. C. Staes was the primary author of the manuscript. S. Mottice and R. Boulton provided the public health expertise for the questionnaire. M. Samore and C. Byington conceived of the survey as part of a larger study, provided funding, and reviewed manuscripts.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.