NBS Supports the COVID-19 Response
For more than a decade, the NEDSS Base System (NBS) has provided a full-service disease surveillance system that local, state, and territorial health departments can implement and customize to meet their needs. Currently, 26 health departments—including 20 states, Washington D.C., and 5 U.S. territories—use NBS for disease surveillance. NBS not only makes surveillance, investigation, and reporting of communicable diseases more efficient but also helps health departments comply with national standards for data storage, management, and transmission. As part of CDC’s pandemic response, the NBS support team is enhancing the system to assist health departments in their COVID-19 response.
Here are some of the ways in which NBS is helping health departments capture and share epidemiologic data on COVID-19 with CDC.
- As an initial response, the NBS team—
- Provided health departments with a template to collect data requested by the CDC programs supporting the COVID-19 response.
- Provided health departments with technical resources to integrate the new standard COVID-19 codes from Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) and Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED) into their NBS systems and to incorporate updates as they become available.
- In addition, the NBS team—
- Provided a process that makes it easier and faster for health departments to extract, view, and analyze their COVID-19 case data and laboratory findings.
- Collaborated with Tennessee public health practitioners to create decision-support algorithms that process incoming electronic laboratory reports. This automation makes data available more quickly and flags findings requiring special attention.
- Collaborated with CDC’s Epi Info team to develop a dashboard showing key statistics (e.g., total cases, cases by age/sex, percent of cases with different symptoms) to support monitoring.
- Provided a process that health departments can use to extract detailed COVID-19 epidemiologic data from NBS in a format that can be loaded directly into the CDC COVID-19 case-tracking database. This saves health departments time and allows them to share epidemiologic data with CDC more quickly and easily.
- Provided a tool that health departments can use to create a CDC-requested daily report summarizing how many SARS-COV-2 laboratory tests were reported to public health, how many tests were positive and negative, and the percent positive.
- Collaborated with our partner, the Association of Public Health Laboratories, on a tool health departments can use to produce detailed de-identified information on each COVID-19 laboratory test reported to public health.
- Collaborated with state partners to identify gaps in the electronic case report (eCR) import functionality in NBS and are planning updates to the system to accept and process eCRs for COVID-19.
In addition to adding functionality, the NBS team provides extensive support to the 26 health departments that use NBS. The team assists with implementation of the new tools and troubleshoots any issues the health departments encounter while using the system for the COVID-19 response.
Looking ahead, the NBS team is exploring strategies to support health department contact tracing activities, which will be important for containing future outbreaks and flare-ups of COVID-19.