Improving STD Reporting Timeliness: Lessons From Eastern Washington


Impact Statement: 
There was a lag between the time when health care providers diagnosed cases of sexually transmitted diseases and the providers notifying the health department. By improving the timeliness of the reports, the health department could quickly reach and treat contacts of the patient, thus preventing further spread of the disease.

Background: Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and initial cases of herpes simplex II are reportable by WAC 246-101 within 3 working days of a positive diagnosis. Investigating reported cases can interrupt disease transmission, theoretically reducing incidence and prevalence over time. Delayed reporting impedes timely case investigation, encouraging sustained transmission in a community.

Methods: Using Public Health Issue Management System (PHIMS) records, a 6-month baseline reporting an average of 7 days was calculated from January to June 2010 for all reporting clinics. Twenty-seven clinics reporting greater than 7 days were visited or contacted from August to December 2010 in order to improve their timeliness of sexually transmitted disease (STD) reporting from their baseline of 14 days to at least 10 days by June 30, 2011. During in-office meetings or telephone communication, a local health jurisdiction staff member provided each clinic with its reporting statistics, reviewed the current case report form, and facilitated unstructured brainstorming sessions to identify areas of improvement related to reporting.

Key Findings: Most clinics were unaware of their reporting trends, utilized outdated case report forms, and had difficulties locating patients for notification and/or treatment arrangements. Post-intervention results indicate improvements as the overall reporting average of targeted clinics decreased to 9.5 days: 13 of 27 clinics were reporting within the county average, 10 clinics did not meet the 10-day reporting goal, and 4 clinics had no reportable cases in the measurement period. Additionally, this effort achieved a 64% increase in the number of clinics reporting within the county average (42% [2010] vs. 69% [2011]) Conclusions: Targeted interventions with clinics can improve reporting timeliness. Additional efforts must be conducted with compliant clinics to reinforce positive reporting protocol.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Spokane Regional Health District

Hayes, A. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving STD Reporting Timeliness: Lessons From Eastern Washington. Mon, 12/17/2012 - 13:57. Available at Accessed June 22, 2024.

Submission Status: 
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Submitted by stephenbrown on

If you have not already seen the accompanying video for this QI initiave on the home page, do yourself a favor and take a moment to do so.  It is a great compliment  piece to the information contained in this submission.  Great work, Spokane Regional Health District!

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Submitted by jpina on

I would like thanks to everyone at Spokane County for their assistance in producing the video highlight for this submission, it looks great and tells an intersting story!

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Submitted by Torney Smith on

Using the links provided within the sections of our report has given us the opportunity to learn what others are doing in speciofic areas. The PHQIX ability to associate our work with similar efforts provides us the opportunity to learn from other's successes and challenges. We value this site greatly.

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