PHESS Program Earns National Honor

Pam Pontones, MA
Director, Surveillance and Investigation

Mike Wade, MS, MPH
Syndromic Surveillance Epidemiologist

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) Public Health Emergency Surveillance System (PHESS) was honored at the eHealth Initiative’s (eHI) first annual Improving Health Care Quality through Information and Technology Awards.  The eHI is a not-for-profit organization committed to improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care through information and information technology.

The eHI presented the awards to eight organizations for demonstrating leadership and excellence in utilizing health information technology or health information exchange to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care.  Awardees were honored during a dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on October 10 in Washington, D.C.  Awards were presented in four categories:  Engaging Consumers, Aligning Financial and Other Incentives, Transforming Care Delivery at the Point of Care, and Improving Population Health. 

The PHESS received the award for Improving Population Health.  Mike Wade, Syndromic Surveillance Epidemiologist, accepted the award on behalf of the ISDH.  According to an eHI press release, “The Indiana Public Health Emergency Surveillance System (PHESS), a program of the Indiana State Department of Health, received the eHI Blueprint Award for Improving Population Health. PHESS is an outstanding example of a "biosurveillance" system that leverages a health information exchange system to detect early disease indicators to identify outbreaks before definitive diagnoses are made.”

According to eHI’s Blueprint:  Building Consensus for Common Action, the organizations receiving the awards “are models for how the use of health IT and health information exchange can support improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care.” 

The ISDH PHESS team also delivered three presentations at the International Society for Disease Surveillance annual syndromic surveillance conference held October 10-12 in Indianapolis.  Topics included: 

  • Improving Rabies Surveillance Using Syndromic Data (Michael Wade, MPH; David Trepanier, MSEE; James Howell, DVM, MPH) — oral presentation
  • Increasing Local Access to Syndromic Surveillance Data (Michael Wade, MPH; David Trepanier, MSEE) — oral presentation
  • Exercise Demonstrates Effective Syndromic Surveillance Response Process (Michael Wade, MPH; Sandra Gorsuch, MS; Thomas Duszynski, BS; Ryan Gentry, BA) — poster presentation