Evolution of an integrated public health surveillance system.

Derek A. Chapman, Nancy Ford, Susan Tlusty, Joann N. Bodurtha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There is a growing recognition in maternal and child health of the importance of social, behavioral, biological, and genetic factors across the entire life course. Unfortunately, most state maternal and child health surveillance systems are not designed to readily address longitudinal research questions or track and follow children across multiple programs over time. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) recently integrated its birth defects registry, newborn hearing screening tracking and management system, and electronic birth certificate (EBC) into a robust, Web-based surveillance system called the Virginia Vital Events and Screening Tracking System (VVESTS). Completely redesigning the existing birth defects and newborn hearing screening system (the Virginia Infant Screening and Infant Tracking System--VISITS I) with minimal disruption of ongoing reporting presented a number of challenges. Because VVESTS had different requirements such as required fields and data validations, extensive data preparation was required to ensure that existing VISITS I data would be included in the new system (VISITS II). Efforts included record deduplication, conversion of free text fields into discrete variables, dealing with missing/invalid data, and linkage with birth certificate data. VISITS II serves multiple program needs; improves data quality and security; automates linkages within families, across programs, and over time; and improves the ability of VDH to provide children with birth defects and their families necessary follow-up services and enhanced care coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of registry management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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