NEDSS - Division for Prevention and Preparedness


NEDSS mission

Project Description

The Texas Department of State Health Services(DSHS) is an active participant in the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS). Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NEDSS is a system to improve the public health monitoring of diseases. Although a complex system, NEDSS is simply a set of specifications about software, computers, databases, and data and an Internet framework that allows users (e.g., doctors, infection control personnel, local health departments) to report communicable diseases to the DSHS more efficiently. With NEDSS, users can quickly discover facts about diseases in Texas as they occur and can analyze those facts in detail. NEDSS will allow public health professionals to rapidly recognize and respond to disease outbreaks.

The CDC intends for all state and local health departments to use NEDSS standards. In order to promote use of the NEDSS standards, the CDC has invested significant resources to develop the NEDSS Base System (NBS). The NBS is a computer software system developed to capture information and monitor diseases in a secure environment. The DSHS intends to adopt the CDC-developed NBS software.

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Project Objectives


The overall long-range objective of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ participation in the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) is to bring about the sequential replacement and integration of existing stand-alone public health surveillance systems with a distributed system that is architecturally based on de-facto industry standards intended to simplify public health surveillance processes and to add additional functionality that is not provided by the current systems.

The primary benefit will be a streamlined disease data collection, analysis, and reporting process. This streamlined process will result in:

  • Significant improvement in the public health identification, response, and intervention to disease outbreaks.

  • Improvements in public health policy-making resulting from better availability of disease data.

Other benefits include:

  • Improvements in reporting timeliness and availability of surveillance data
  • Better feedback to data providers.

  • Improved access to data.

  • Improved efficiency of system maintenance (as opposed to multiple different software systems used presently).
  • Improved documentation and shared understanding of business processes used for surveillance.

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    Project Scope


    The scope of the DSHS NEDSS project includes public health disease surveillance data for those conditions on the list of national and state notifiable diseases. Some case management data that specifically support public health surveillance activities is also included. Public health disease surveillance data are typically in the form of registries. Within DSHS, this includes the following programmatic areas:
    • IDCU (Infectious Disease Control Unit)
    • HIV / STD (Human Immunodeficiency Virus / Sexually Transmitted Diseases)
    • TB (Tuberculosis)
    • Immunizations

    Functions or activities included in DSHS NEDSS:

    • Case and disease data collection functions.
    • Case detection through the collection of reported health data, including laboratory reports.
    • Case verification that a report meets criteria of a new case within the system.
    • Data quality assurance and completeness.
    • Case investigation data as needed to determine case morbidity status.
    • Analysis of thresholds and patterns, including such things as calculation of rates, analyses of trends, assessment of risks and patterns by person, place and time.
    • Routine reporting and messaging functions.
    • Data security.

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    Supporting the project scope is the NEDSS application and hardware architecture. The NBS is a web-enabled software application, and is secured and protected for use only by pre-authorized personnel. The NBS adheres to the architectural elements within the NEDSS specifications, and is consistent with DSHS Information Technology Architecture Standards.

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    Last Updated August 25, 2005

    Last updated October 14, 2013