Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced that hospitals, doctors and other health care providers now can electronically report infectious diseases to the state and local health departments as part of a continuing effort to improve the state’s ability to respond to public health emergencies:

“We are committed to strengthening the capacity of our public health system to meet health threats,” the Governor said. “The roll out of this electronic disease reporting system to private health care providers enhances the state’s ability to quickly identify health problems and direct the appropriate response.”

The inclusion of hospitals and other health care providers in the Illinois-National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS) began this month. The system was initially launched in March 2004 so the state’s 95 local health departments could be efficiently and securely linked through a Web-based computer connection to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Future applications will allow laboratories and others to utilize I-NEDSS. Chicago also is developing an electronic reporting system with its share of federal bioterrorism funds for the city’s hospitals and health care providers that is not yet ready to go on-line. When Chicago’s system is in place, it will be designed to share data with the state’s I-NEDSS.