Regarding mandatory reporting of communicable diseases, studies have previously examined the compliance rate of physicians, but not barriers or preferred public health outreach methods. This study assessed perceptions for reporting communicable diseases and identified the preferred route of education for Indiana healthcare professionals.
A web-based survey was developed by the Indiana State Department of Health using SurveyMonkey and distributed via several Indiana healthcare distribution lists. The survey consisted of 17 questions and responses were collected for seven days. The target population included advanced health care providers (AHCP), infection preventionists (IP), and nurses. Respondents were separated into two distinct categories, AHCP and IP/nurses, based on reported professional role.
Respondents included 183 AHCP’s and 67 IP/nurses. Of these, 55% of AHCPs reported contacting the health department to report a communicable disease compared to 90% of IP/nurses. The most frequently reported barriers by AHCPs were “do not know what diseases to report” (18% of AHCPs, 1% of IP/nurses), “too much time required” (17% of both groups), and “do not know what number to call” (17% of AHCPs, 8% of IP/nurses). Only 34% of AHCPs surveyed knew how to contact the local health department, while 87% of IP/nurses knew how to contact the local health department. Both AHCPs and IP/nurses preferred to receive education from the health department through literature provided via email, videos provided via email, and lunch-and-learn session. The provider survey facilitated the design of a Lunch and Learn (L&L) presentation used to address discrepancies in reporting. The ISDH presented the L&L in Indiana’s largest hospital systems to educate healthcare professionals on state reporting protocol and associated procedures. The ISDH L&L was received by 400 health care professionals at 3 separate locations.
Barriers to reporting can significantly hinder communicable disease surveillance in Indiana. Educational outreach should use preferred methods reported by AHCPs and IP/nurses to reduce barriers to reporting and improve reporting compliance.
M. Sundararajan, None