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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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

Jim Kamp

Jim Kamp  - MBA, MA

Director, Strategic Partnerships, Public Health Systems

Areas of Expertise
  • Public Health Interoperability
  • Health IT Project Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach

Jim Kamp has more than 30 years of combined experience in IT program management, including for government health care agencies. He leads projects for the Vital Records and Health Statistics Division of the state of Michigan to improve electronic birth reporting and for Washington state to improve ELR processing of Covid-19 data. He builds partnerships needed to advance interoperability at all levels of government and serves in leadership roles in the Michigan and Midwest chapters of HIMSS. Jim holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.