Project
Start
February 2021

Development GP Registration Network Dutch Caribbean: to improve disease surveillance and health(care) on the six islands

Duration: Feb 2021 - March 2022

Background

Various general practitioners on the islands forming part of the Dutch Caribbean - Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius - report the number of patients with certain infectious diseases or related symptoms. They send this information weekly to the Curaçao Municipal Health Service. This disease surveillance system (also called 'syndromic surveillance system') has already proven itself several times as an 'Early Warning System' for outbreaks of infectious diseases on the islands. The system is also useful for estimating the size and impact of outbreaks.
A disadvantage is that the current manual system involves extra work for the GPs. Because of this, participation on some islands is low and the risk of subjective or incomplete reporting is high. There is a growing desire on the islands to automate and thus strengthen the infectious disease surveillance.

Aim
To improve the health(care) on the islands by:
1. Expanding the existing surveillance for infectious diseases from five islands in the Dutch Caribbean to all six islands.
2. Strengthening the (infectious disease) surveillance in the Dutch Caribbean by automating the reporting system. The automation will lead to a higher and more consistent participation rate and will generate less error-sensitive data.
3. Setting up and professionalising the GP Registration Network Dutch Caribbean (HRNC), in dutch 'Huisartsen Registratienetwerk Nederlands Caribisch gebied': our own research infrastructure based on routinely collected patient data from general practices, which we will recruit intensively on the six islands.
4. The setting up of an 'Early Warning System' for prevailing infectious diseases, based on the surveillance figures resulting from the previous steps.
5. Using the data from the HRNC, in addition to surveillance, for broader research, with which we can provide 'decision makers in health care' with tools for policy development, think of healthcare policy officers and healthcare institutions.

Method
Step 1. (Technical) development of the new infrastructure for the six islands of the Dutch Caribbean, the GP Registration Network Dutch Caribbean (HRNC), derived from the Nivel Primary Care Database, aimed at the collection, pseudonymisation and analysis of patient data from GP practices into data useful for disease surveillance and broader scientific research.
Step 2. Recruit GP practices to participate in HRNC.
Step 3. In cooperation with the local GGDs, develop the Early Warning System per island, based on the weekly surveillance figures within HRNC,

Result
An up-to-date, secure and authorised research infrastructure for the islands in the Dutch Caribbean, with which disease surveillance and broader research can be conducted to improve health and health care on the islands.
- Each island will receive an Early Warning System for infectious diseases, which will provide fast and reliable insight into acute changes in the occurrence of illness and mortality among the population, so that the local GGDs can take targeted control measures.
- Each participating GP practice will receive a complete overview of the weekly results of its own practice and its own island.
Funding
Ministerie van VWS
In this project we work together with
Lokale Publieke Gezondheidsdiensten (PGD's) van de eilanden in het Nederlands Caribisch gebied
RIVM