Automated disease surveillance systems are becoming widely used by the public health community. However, communication among non-collocated and widely dispersed users still needs improvement. A web-based software tool for enhancing user communications was completely integrated into an existing automated disease surveillance system and was tested during two simulated exercises and operational use involving multiple jurisdictions. Evaluation of this tool was conducted by user meetings, anonymous surveys, and web logs. Public health officials found this tool to be useful, and the tool has been modified further to incorporate features suggested by user responses. Features of the automated disease surveillance system, such as alerts and time series plots, can be specifically referenced by user comments. The user may also indicate the alert response being considered by adding a color indicator to their comment. The web-based event communication tool described in this article provides a common ground for collaboration and communication among public health officials at different locations.
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