Michigan Disease Surveillance System

To prepare Michigan for tomorrow’s public health challenges, Altarum is modernizing the state’s disease surveillance system with an innovative architecture and expanded monitoring and reporting capabilities. 

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Overview

In the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, state governments worked around the clock to ensure their systems were able to accurately and efficiently process a massive increase in electronic Covid testing data from laboratories.

The state of Michigan, whom Altarum supported during the pandemic, also faced a spike in Covid cases earlier than many other states, placing additional pressure on officials to respond quickly.

To ensure the system met the moment, Altarum’s public health technologists worked alongside Michigan epidemiologists and health officials to make swift enhancements to the Michigan Disease Surveillance System.

Our improvements included faster processing speeds; increased upstream data capture to include information such as race and pre-existing conditions; contact tracing to pinpoint outbreak clusters and variants; and new automated reports that informed state leadership and the public.

Our Approach

We made many of these enhancements in the early weeks of the pandemic, working with our state partners to identify and mitigate potential bottlenecks before they became a problem.

To enable Michigan health officials to determine how the virus was impacting different populations or parts of the state, we configured the system to capture demographic data including race, gender, pre-existing conditions (and other high-risk categories), and region. We also integrated data with the state-supported contract tracing application that exposed clusters of Covid-19 outbreaks and emerging cases of Covid variants that could be traced to specific jurisdictions.

We also enhanced the system’s reporting capabilities, which gave Michigan officials real-time access to information used to assess the situation and inform the response. As a result, Michigan’s electronic laboratory reporting capabilities received an A rating by the Covid Tracking Project.

To meet future challenges, and to apply lessons learned as Michigan’s partner during the pandemic, we’re embarking on a two-year modernization of the system. The new disease surveillance system will feature a microservices architecture that is scalable, configurable, and interoperable with more sophisticated monitoring, reporting, and analytics capabilities. 

Benefits of the Modernized System 

Our modernized disease surveillance system will provide several benefits to Michigan. First, the expanded reporting capabilities will enable the state to more easily and quickly share information among entities responding to a health crisis at the federal, state, and local levels.

Second, the reimagined user interface, powered by the scalability of a new microservices architecture, will feature data flows, dashboards, and visualizations that will give public health officials more tools to identify, track, and analyze trends with greater precision and speed.

And finally, the microservices architecture will ensure the system operates more efficiently by allocating resources only where needed and making it easier to release updates and new versions of the system, resulting in more control, more stability, and increased longevity.

Michigan Disease Surveillance System Contact

Contact Us

Lakshmi Atluri

Lakshmi Atluri  - MS

Director, Disease Surveillance

Areas of Expertise
  • Disease Surveillance
  • Public Health Informatics
  • Software Development

For over 12 years, Lakshmi Atluri has focused on public health informatics in various roles at Altarum, from software engineer to technical leader to her current role as director of the Center for Disease Surveillance. Lakshmi has overseen the successful deployment of a variety of applications for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and currently manages new module development and maintenance of disease, outbreak, and other public health surveillance and reporting systems. Lakshmi holds a master's degree in information systems from Eastern Michigan University.