According to a recent study published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, improved Internet access could encourage clinicians to more reliably report certain diseases, enhancing public health authorities’ ability to quickly identify outbreaks, United Press International reports. To determine whether technological interventions impact spontaneous disease reporting among clinicians, Temple University researchers studied five Philadelphia-area hospitals that implemented a three-component intervention, which included e-mail memoranda, a Web site and a handheld computer program. Across the 24-week study period, the research team sent e-mails to more than 16,500 clinicians and administrative staff. The Web site, meanwhile, received 866 visits, and the handheld computer program for disease reporting was downloaded 130 times. While control hospitals, defined as all other hospitals within the county, experienced a mean decrease of 3.0 reports, the intervention hospitals logged a mean increase of 5.6 reports. In light of the findings, the researchers note that the electronic interventions represent a simple and cost-efficient way to boost physician reporting of diseases. They add that “quick reporting by several physicians, all acting independently, allows public health authorities to promptly recognize a pattern and take the necessary action to contain the disease” (United Press International, 1/16/08; Ward et al., Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, January/February 2008 [registration required]).