Input and feedback from our partners is critical to ensuring the public health work we do is effective and meaningful. Even when (or especially when) programs have been in existence for years, it’s important to continue checking in with our stakeholders.

MEDSIS, our electronic communicable disease surveillance system, has been in place since 2006, but it is continually undergoing enhancements. It’s widely used in the state by all 15 counties and many tribes to track and manage infectious disease cases reported in their jurisdiction. Unlike similar systems in other states, MEDSIS also allows hospital representatives to directly enter reports of infectious diseases into MEDSIS rather than having to fax or call in those reports to the county health departments.

As we continue enhancements to MEDSIS, we’ve been diligent about consulting with our local health partners to figure out how the system is working for them. Just recently we expanded this outreach to hospital partners. A few months ago, our MEDSIS Program staff held a focus group with hospital partners to assess their knowledge of MEDSIS, the communication they receive about MEDSIS, barriers to using MEDSIS, and requests for improved workflow in the system. This evaluation yielded important insights for the MEDSIS Program and led to our first ever MEDSIS Infection Preventionist Workgroup Meeting.

Thanks to our MEDSIS Program staff and robust feedback from our hospital partners, we’re now planning to host these meetings quarterly. Meetings will allow us to routinely collect feedback and prioritize changes to the system that will enhance the workflow for our hospital partners. The input received through the focus group and the Workgroup meeting underscores the importance of continual evaluation for program improvement. Many thanks to our dedicated hospital partners for their feedback. Infection preventionists wishing to join future Workgroup meetings can contact their local MEDSIS Liaison.