The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta provides funding to 57 state, local and territorial health departments via the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases cooperative agreement to assist with improving electronic laboratory reporting.
CDC, state and large local health departments are collaborating to monitor U.S. ELR implementation by developing data from each jurisdiction.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, said electronic laboratory reporting was an important tool that gives health officials vital information on infectious disease cases.
"Infectious disease outbreaks will always be with us -- and rapid recognition of an outbreak saves lives," Frieden said in a statement. "Thanks to electronic laboratory reporting, we're detecting outbreaks faster than ever. Unfortunately, only a quarter of the 10,000 labs across the country use ELR. We must keep expanding use of ELR to help CDC and our partners save lives and reduce healthcare costs."
At the end of July, 54 of the 57 jurisdictions were receiving ELR, and approximately 62 percent of 20 million laboratory reports were being received electronically, compared with 54 percent in 2012, the report says.
Continued progress will require collaboration between clinical laboratories, laboratory information management system vendors and public health agencies, the report says.
Of the 10,400 reporting laboratories, approximately 5,400, or 52 percent, are considered priority targets for ELR by health departments.
Through quarterly telephone calls and emails, the CDC and public health agency staff members compile information about laboratory results reporting, including an annual estimate of the volume of reports, the report says.
The findings are published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
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