Innovation and Application of Data Flow Diagram to Inform Stakeholders, Validate Process, Align Operations, and Inform Systems Architecture for the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Network Open Access

Caneer, James Patrick (Summer 2020)

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Background: The development and implementation of a technical systems architecture for a complex global health childhood mortality surveillance initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia lacked a broadly understandable and comprehensive form of technical documentation to communicate the complexity, interdependency, timing, and orchestration of demographic information, specimen collection, clinical and laboratory data, pathology results, photographs, verbal autopsy data, and other case-specific information to stakeholders , program administrators, field workers, clinical staff, laboratorians, epidemiologists, public health professionals, statisticians and information technology professionals.


Key Aims and Methods: The purpose of this thesis project was to develop a new form of informatics diagram to capture the broader surveillance logistics of the network by incorporating processes, study artifacts, standard operating procedures, and data exchange. The key aims of the project were to develop a:

(1) Methodology for the development and refinement of novel data flow diagram for the global case-based public health surveillance program 

(2) New type of technical documentation artifact for the global case-based public health surveillance program that could be generalizable for other similar public health surveillance programs

Results: A refined version of the novel data flow diagram artifact and a method for development was established. The resulting technical document met the overall objective of providing a comprehensive depiction of the surveillance data flow that is informative, instructive, and universally engaging. The artifact had the appropriate balance of communicating both a technical and non-technical system workflow consumable by a multitude of international stakeholders.  

Conclusions: This project-based thesis presents an innovative technique of technical documentation developed in service of a complex global public health surveillance network that may offer a more comprehensive, versatile, and intelligible illustration technique to capture the flow of surveillance data, potentially disrupting conventional techniques within the industry. The data flow diagram was intentionally designed and honed to communicate the appropriate ratio of operational/functional workflow specificity such that the document could inform the broadest audience of surveillance stakeholders, at the appropriate level magnification. If refined and more broadly adopted, this data flow development methodology and the resulting artifacts could change how public health surveillance networks are designed, communicated, and comprehended.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

1.1 Introduction and Rationale 1

1.2 Review of the literature 5

1.3 Problem Statement 13

1.4 Purpose statement 19

1.5 Key Aims 20

1.6 Significance statement 20

Chapter 2 Methodology 21

2.1 Introduction 21

2.2 Description 21

2.3 Project design 24

2.4 Procedures 29

2.5 Instruments 41

2.6 Analytic Methodology 45

Chapter 3 Final Product 46

3.1 Introduction 46

3.2 Key Findings 46

3.3 Other Findings 53

Chapter 4 Discussion 55

4.1 Introduction 55

4.2 Summary of Project 55

4.3 Implications 56

4.4 Limitations 58

4.5 Recommendations and Next Steps 58

4.6 Conclusion 59

5.0 References 62

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