- Federal, state, and local elected officials should provide additional funding for STD prevention.
- The CDC should retain and immediately redesign categorical funding for STD programs.
- The federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development, and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the World Bank, should provide resources and technical assistance to global efforts to prevent STDs.
Improving Surveillance and Other Information Systems
National surveillance and other information systems for STDs are important in monitoring and evaluating a national system for prevention. Data from these information systems are critical to long-term program planning as well as to day-to-day management of programs. The current surveillance system needs enhancement because it does not give accurate estimates of disease incidence. This is because not all persons with STDs seek medical care and because many clinical encounters with health care professionals, especially in private sector settings, are not reported. It is critical that a systematic, comprehensive evaluation of the national surveillance system be conducted to describe the attributes of the system and to provide guidance for future improvements. STD surveillance systems should include and link information from public sector, community-based, and private health care professionals. Special emphasis should be placed on educating clinicians about reporting and on collaborating with and collecting data from private sector providers, including health plans.
With respect to the above issues, the committee makes the following recommendations:
- The CDC should lead a coordinated national effort to improve the surveillance of STDs and their associated complications and to improve the monitoring of STD prevention program effectiveness.
- Federal, state, and local STD programs should encourage and provide technical assistance to employers and other purchasers of health care (including Medicaid programs), managed care organizations and other health plans, and other health care professionals to develop and utilize information systems that effectively integrate preventive services performance data with community health status indicators and STD program data.
- STD-related performance measures should be included in the Health Plan Employer Data Information Set (HEDIS) and other health services performance measures to improve quality-assurance monitoring of STDs.