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[Critique] Implementing a public web based GIS service for feedback of surveillance data on communicable diseases in Sweden

Article by Per Rolfhamre1 , Katarzyna Grabowska1 and Karl Ekdahl1, 2
1Department of Epidemiology, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Nobels väg 18, SE-17182 Solna, Sweden
2Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, SE-17177 Stockholm, Sweden

The authors have sufficiently summarized the study by including the purpose, methods, results, and conclusions or summary. The study was focused on the discussion of the considerations and technology of a created public web-based GIS service, which has already been deployed. The abstract is not entirely written in the past tense.

The article doesn’t have an introduction part, and instead presented a background of the study. Although citations are made, the review of literature was very minimal. There were no references to similar works done in the area of study in this part of the study. References to similar systems are done in the discussion of results part of the study. The underlying concepts, especially on the importance of making data on communicable diseases available to the public via internet, was only mentioned and barely discussed.

There was no hypothesis or research question posted on the study. What seemed to be the thrust of the study was the conjecture in that making surveillance data available in the internet, especially to public health officials, was key to policy-making, prioritization, and information related activities.

The authors have presented data collection and processing procedures in paragraph form. There was no further attempt to expound on the methods, and there were no charts or figures to support the discussion of the processing procedures. Likewise, the presentation of the hardware and software configuration was done in passing.

The authors were able to present and discuss the results of their study well. As their study was focused on the system, the basic application design, the work or process flow, database structure, user interface, and usage, were sufficiently presented. The discussion focused on the design principles used, security, performance, and quality concerns. There was mention of data interpretation, but this was for general consumption and only applied for the locality. This part of the study presented similar systems that already exist in other parts of the world, using a short comparison of features, but not as in-depth as necessary.

The authors made recommendations for improvements, and discussed possible enhancements and/or changes in the system, the area of study, and in the available technology.

Received 25 February 2004
Accepted 10 June 2004
Published 10 June 2004
© 2004 Rolfhamre et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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