Creating Novel Surveillance Data Products for Briefing Health Department Leadership and Elected Officials During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Texas.J Public Health Manag Pract. 2023 May-Jun 01; 29(3):403-410.JP
Beginning in March 2020, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) developed several internal surveillance tools for briefing state health department leadership and elected officials on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas. This case study describes the initial conceptualization and daily production of 3 of these internal surveillance tools: (1) a COVID-19 data book displaying daily case, fatality, hospitalization, and testing data by county; (2) graphs and data files displaying new daily COVID-19 fatalities among residents of long-term care facilities in Texas; and (3) graphs and data files comparing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations between the 4 COVID-19 waves in Texas. In addition, this case study uses qualitative interview data to describe how DSHS leadership used these surveillance products during the pandemic. Finally, details on challenges and lessons learned around creating and maintaining these tools are provided. These surveillance products are easily replicable, and our methods and lessons learned may be helpful for researchers or health department officials working on COVID-19 or other disease surveillance teams.