In the fall of 2009, Clermont County Public Health, in conjunction with Hamilton County Public Health, launched the student absenteeism surveillance pilot project, HealthWatch. Many schools in Clermont County participated in the project throughout the 2009 – 2010 school year, providing daily reports of student absenteeism.
One of the primary goals of the HealthWatch project was to obtain a snapshot of the health status of students in the school environment, particularly during influenza season. By following a case definition, HealthWatch reporters documented the burden of influenza-like illness (ILI) within each school’s population. This reporting allowed the Health District to monitor the presence of ILI among students and its subsequent impact on student absenteeism throughout the 2009 – 2010 flu season. Based on the data collected within the system, Public Health collaborated with schools reporting increasing illness and absenteeism, providing tools and recommendations for students, staff and parents on illness prevention.
Using feedback from prior year’s users, HealthWatch has been improved and expanded to include several features: multiple categories of illness impacting students have been added, in addition to ongoing monitoring of ILI; charts, graphs and other tools have also been added to the system, allowing HealthWatch users real-time access to their school data; and a resources section within HealthWatch gives users access to tools, web links, documents and forms that are commonly utilized by schools. It is anticipated that these changes will promote rapid identification of illnesses impacting students in the school environment, and encourage ongoing communication and collaboration between the Clermont County Public Health and schools.
If you have questions regarding HealthWatch, or you would like to register your school into the system please contact us.