Surveillance report Open Access
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In 2000, the new German infectious disease control act replaced aggregate with individual case reporting. The process was facilitated by the simultaneous introduction of electronic data transfer within the public health system. Reporting laboratories have not been electronically connected to this network. A survey by means of a postal questionnaire was conducted in 2003 among 537 German medical microbiology laboratories to explore their reporting habits, preference for electronic reporting formats, and relevant software equipment. Almost 90% of the respondents indicated a reporting delay of no more than 24 hours and 45% were still manually filling in paper forms for reporting purposes. The introduction of electronic reporting formats was favoured by 74% of the laboratories although 33% were not using any microbiology-specific software and the remaining 67% listed 62 different products. Pilot projects with selected software manufacturers might help to pave the way for the implementation of a standardised electronic infectious disease reporting format in Germany.


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