Medical practitioners are a key source of timely information about a range of public health issues, including outbreaks of communicable disease.
This information is vital in assisting the Department of Health (Western Australia) to monitor medical events and develop appropriate health responses and policies, both in the short and long term.
Prompt and appropriate reporting allows the prevention and alleviation of communicable and non-communicable disease processes through:
- Monitoring of changes in the incidence of communicable diseases and the identification of emerging diseases.
- Prompt investigation, contact tracing and treatment of communicable diseases.
- Early identification of disease outbreaks such as food-borne diseases that require urgent public health intervention.
- Monitoring of patterns of prescribing of drugs of addiction.
- Monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of health programs such as cancer screening, cancer treatment programs, infectious disease control programs and certain clinical procedures.
- Identification of risk factors and areas of need in relation to particular types of medical events or conditions.
- Planning of services in relation to key public health issues.