Annual Report Annual Report 2015 : Page 13

WO R K FO R C E / Q UALIT Y SYSTE M S Scott J. Becker, executive director for APHL, takes a photo with Wadsworth Master of Science in Laboratory Sciences program graduates during their commencement on Wednesday July 15, 2015 in Albany, NY. Left to right: Kaleigh Ahern, Greicy Zayas, Francesco Criscuolo, Joseph Shea and Scott Becker You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure With this maxim in mind, APHL works to assure that its member laboratories do measure and track quality metrics. • In 2015, the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory and the Montana Laboratory Services Bureau completed their second Laboratory System Improvement Program (L-SIP) assessment, designed to measure a laboratory’s ability to carry out the 10 essential public health services. Virginia’s Fairfax County Health Department Laboratory and Kentucky’s Louisville Metro Health Department Laboratory completed their first L-SIP assessments. Training coordinators representing 48 states attended the eighth National Laboratory Training Conference in Atlanta, GA in June 2015 • In Denver, CO, and Silver Spring, MD, APHL hosted two workshops, addressing the three elements of laboratory quality management systems: non-conforming event management, internal audits and quality indicators. • In the virtual realm, the association developed two webinars on the use of quality standards in biochemical genetic testing. • APHL released the results of its biennial Comprehen-sive Laboratory Services Survey, the only data source for Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) Objective PHI-11—to “increase the proportion of [governmental] public health agencies that provide or assure comprehensive laboratory services to support essential public health services.” Results show that several HP 2020 targets were met, among them data management, food safety and emergency response. The only area with movement away from the HP 2020 target is environmental health. Indiana middle school students explore the work of laboratory scientists at an event in Indianapolis co-sponsored by APHL and the Indiana State Public Health Laboratory 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 13 2015 APHL ANNUAL REPORT 13

APHL Is Informatics

Nancy Maddox

APHL Is Informatics

APHL began its Informatics Program a decade ago, with a project to deliver standardized, electronic influenza laboratory surveillance data to CDC. Today, APHL is a recognized leader in the field. And the possibilities are endless...

The APHL Informatics Messaging Services (AIMS) Platform transmits vital medical and public health data in the “cloud,” but its servers are based here on earth. In 2014, the platform migrated to the Amazon Web Services’ (AWS’s) server farm making it more powerful and reliable, with built-in back-up systems and redundancies. In 2015, the AIMS platform got even better with:

Electronic controls to allow for automatic expansion and contraction
of processing and computing power, based on client demand.
Links to AWS server farms in other locations provide a second line of
security for users even during a catastrophic event.

The improved AIMS Platform is the platform of choice for data transmission among public health laboratories and agencies. And it is quickly becoming the gateway to public health for other users. For example, it serves as the technology backbone for:

The Public Health Immunization Data Exchange — a project sponsored by
the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology to ensure reliable reporting of immunization data to state
immunization registries.
Initial Case Reports of Reportable Conditions — A project to scan
electronic health records for diagnoses of reportable conditions and
transmit the data to state or local jurisdictions and to medical
providers. Since less than a third of reportable conditions are
believed to be reported to health authorities, the project promises
to dramatically improve public health surveillance and community
disease control. APHL is collaborating with the CDC and the Council
of State and Territorial Epidemiologists on this project.
CDC’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) Program — an ambitious
effort to track pathogenic microbes and solve infectious disease
outbreaks by examining microbes’ DNA or RNA code (which can
discriminate among different strains of the same bug and yield
information on microbial virulence, drug-resistance and
transmissibility). Yet the program has faced a bottleneck:
transmitting whole genome sequencing data for a single pathogen (a 15
gigabyte file on average) is the electronic equivalent of
transmitting the novel War and Peace. Now imagine 50 state health
agencies trying to send data to CDC during an outbreak. Fortunately,
the AIMS Platform and associated tools have cut the transmission time
from eight hours to one, simplifying the process and negating the
need for costly information technology upgrades in state health
agencies and laboratories.

And the same technology and logic sets used for AIMS Platform projects can be repurposed for exchange of other public health data such as childhood obesity, cancer incidence and hospital readmissions.

“The faster we can identify a vaccine-preventable disease (VPD) outbreak, the faster we can contain it. That’s why we are grateful to APHL’s informatics team for simplifying the complex process of implementing real-time VPD reporting to CDC.”

Mary Wedig, data management and ELR coordinator, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene

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