Press Release

November 20, 2007


State public health director announces national award for use of health information technology to improve healthcare

 I-NEDSS awarded for improved disease tracking technology

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, announced today the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Davies Award of Excellence for its use of technology to improve patient care. The HIMSS issued five Nicholas E. Davies Awards of Excellence for 2007 to healthcare organizations, private practices and public health systems for excellence in the implementation and use of health information technology, specifically electronic health records. IDPH received an award for its development and implementation of the Illinois-National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS), which began in 2004, to improve disease tracking throughout the state.

“Effective public health surveillance is essential for detecting and responding to emerging public health threats, including infectious diseases, and biological and chemical terrorism,” said Dr. Arnold. “Through this state-of-the-art system, we are gathering and analyzing data quickly and accurately. I-NEDSS is improving our ability to identify and track infectious diseases and detect clinical patterns that might signal an emergency situation, whether it be naturally occurring or a terrorist attack. We are excited to be nationally recognized for our efforts to use technology to improve public health.”

The 2007 Davies Awards of Excellence in the Public Health, Organizational and Ambulatory categories are:

Public Health

  • Illinois-National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (I-NEDSS) – Springfield, IL
  • Institute for Family Health - New York City, NY


  • Allina Hospitals and Clinics - Minneapolis, MN


  • Valdez Family Clinic – San Antonio, TX
  • Village Health Partners – Plano, TX

I-NEDSS is a Web-based system that establishes a secure and real-time communication link between hospitals, laboratories and other health care providers with the state and all 95 local health departments for the purposes of reporting and managing communicable disease information. I-NEDSS is designed to improve local health departments’ abilities to identify and track reportable diseases and outbreaks, including those due to bioterrorist threats.

In the past, disease reporting relied on local agencies, hospitals, doctors and others writing the information on paper-based data collection forms and mailing them to the state or local health department, or calling with the data. The process led to reporting errors, double data entry by state and local health departments, and frequently long delays in the information reaching the state.

I-NEDSS enhances both the timeliness and quality of the information reported and reduces the reporting burden on providers.

I-NEDSS is part of a national electronic disease reporting system that not only links health providers and state and local public health agencies within Illinois, but provides data to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I-NEDSS is used for all reportable communicable diseases (E.coli, West Nile Virus and Hepatitis) and vaccine preventable diseases (mumps and pertussus). Tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases will be added in 2008 and HIV/AIDS in 2009. Illnesses can be tracked by the patient’s ZIP code, street, county, symptoms and other factors. The system also allows adding new diseases and questions at any time so information can be gathered specific to an outbreak.

Funding for I-NEDSS comes from the state’s share of federal bioterrorism funds.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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