Surveillance report Open Access
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Surveillance systems for infectious diseases build the basis for effective public health measures in the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Assessing and improving the quality of such national surveillance systems is a challenge, as many different administrations and professions contribute to a complex system in which sensitive information must be exchanged in a reliable and timely fashion. We conducted a multidisciplinary quality circle on the national public health surveillance system in Germany which included clinicians, laboratory physicians, and staff from local and state health departments as well as from the Robert Koch-Institut. The recommendations resulting from the quality circle included proposals to change the federal law for the control of infectious diseases as well as practical activities such as the change of notification forms and the mailing of faxed information letters to clinicians. A number of recommendations have since been implemented, and some have resulted in measurable improvements. This demonstrates that the applied method of quality circle is a useful tool to improve the quality of national public health surveillance systems.


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