Electronic sentinel surveillance of influenza-like illness experience from a pilot study in New Zealand

Background: Electronic reporting of Influenza-like illness (eILI) from primary care was implemented and evaluated in three general medical practices in New Zealand during May to September 2015. Objective: To measure the uptake of eILI and to identify the system's strength and limitations. Methods: Analysis of transactional data from the eILI system; comparative study of influenza-like illness cases reported using manual methods and eILI; questionnaire administered to clinical and operational stakeholders. Results: Over the study period 66% of total ILI cases were reported using eILI. Reporting timeliness improved significantly compared to manual reporting with an average of 24 minutes from submission by the clinician to processing in the national database. Users found the system to be user-friendly. Conclusion: eILI assists clinicians to report ILI cases to public health authorities within a stipulated time period and is associated with faster, more reliable and improved information transfer.