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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was designated as a dangerous communicable disease by law in Thailand. However, existing surveillance systems was not timely and accurate. Therefore, we conducted an innovation development research to improve the system. The research comprises two objectives; (i) to describe the existing surveillance system and its challenges, and (ii) to enhance surveillance system through the improvement of information technology. All related stakeholders, from the Department of Disease Control to hospitals, were engaged and communicated to identify the challenges of the surveillance system. Several challenges were reported, for instance, lack of timeliness, overload of verification, inaccessibility of data feedback, and difficulty of cluster identification. To overcome these challenges, five additional features were developed, tested, and implemented. These five features included auto-verification, laboratory reporting, data exporting, data visualization, and integration with the existing event-based surveillance. The system was tested by developers and users and implemented nationwide. The activities were made possible by several communication routes including chat, email, and teleconference. Early engagement of stakeholders, understanding of existing surveillance systems, and utilizing information technologies to solve challenges are substantially crucial. Our study provides a new opportunity for the improvement of the surveillance system during the period of travel restriction in many countries.
Keywords: coronavirus disease, surveillance system, information system, information technology, innovation
Article in English