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Experiences With A Voluntary Surveillance System For Early Detection Of Equine Diseases In Switzerland.

R. Struchen, D. Hadorn, F. Wohlfender, S. Balmer, S. Sueptitz, J. Zinsstag, F. Vial
Published 2016 · Medicine

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Clinical observations made by practitioners and reported using web- and mobile-based technologies may benefit disease surveillance by improving the timeliness of outbreak detection. Equinella is a voluntary electronic reporting and information system established for the early detection of infectious equine diseases in Switzerland. Sentinel veterinary practitioners have been able to report cases of non-notifiable diseases and clinical symptoms to an internet-based platform since November 2013. Telephone interviews were carried out during the first year to understand the motivating and constraining factors affecting voluntary reporting and the use of mobile devices in a sentinel network. We found that non-monetary incentives attract sentinel practitioners; however, insufficient understanding of the reporting system and of its relevance, as well as concerns over the electronic dissemination of health data were identified as potential challenges to sustainable reporting. Many practitioners are not yet aware of the advantages of mobile-based surveillance and may require some time to become accustomed to novel reporting methods. Finally, our study highlights the need for continued information feedback loops within voluntary sentinel networks.
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