Applying the XForms Standard to Public Health Case Reporting and Alerting
Notifiable condition reporting and alerting are two important public health functions. Today, a variety of methods are used to accomplish these transfers of information. The increasing use of electronic health record systems by healthcare providers makes new types of electronic communication possible. We used the XForms standard and nationally recognized technical profiles to demonstrate the communication of both notifiable condition reports and patient-tailored public health alerts. This demonstration of bi-directional communication took place in a prototypical health information exchange environment. We successfully transferred information between provider electronic health record systems and public health systems for notifiable condition reporting. Patient-specific alerts were successfully sent from public health to provider systems. In this paper we discuss the benefits of XForms, including the use of XML, advanced form controls, form initialization and reduction in scripting. We also review implementation challenges, the maturity of the technology and its suitability for use in public health.
Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 * http://ojphi.org