Assessment of Geographic Information Systems and Data Confidentiality Guidelines in STD Programs

  • Bissette J
  • Stover J
  • Newman L
 et al. 
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Objective. Advancements in technology, such as geographic information systems (GIS), expand sexually transmitted disease (STD) program capacity for data analysis and visualization, and introduce additional confidentiality considerations. We developed a survey to examine GIS use among STD programs and to better understand existing data confidentiality practices. Methods. A Web-based survey of eight to 22 questions, depending on program-specific GIS capacity, was e-mailed to all STD program directors through the National Coalition of STD Directors in November 2004. Survey responses were accepted until April 15, 2005. Results. Eighty-five percent of the 65 currently funded STD programs responded to the survey. Of those, 58% used GIS and 54% used geocoding. STD programs that did not use GIS (42%) identified lack of training and insufficient staff as primary barriers. Mapping, spatial analyses, and targeting program interventions were the main reasons for geocoding data. Nineteen of the 25 programs that responded to questions related to statistical disclosure rules employed a numerator rule, and 56% of those used a variation of the "Rule of 5." Of the 28 programs that responded to questions pertaining to confidentiality guidelines, 82% addressed confidentiality of GIS data informally. Conclusions. Survey findings showed the increasing use of GIS and highlighted the struggles STD programs face in employing GIS and protecting confidentiality. Guidance related to data confidentiality and additional access to GIS software and training could assist programs in optimizing use of spatial data.

Author-supplied keywords

  • E
  • Folder - 2009
  • Folder - WOS
  • epidemiology

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  • Jennifer M Bissette

  • Jeffrey A Stover

  • Lori M Newman

  • Philip Christopher Delcher

  • Kyle T Bernstein

  • Lindsey Matthews

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