Northrop wins Delaware health contract

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Public Health awarded Northrop Grumman Corp. a $3.6 million one-year contract to lead the implementation of the first step in a statewide disease surveillance and management system.

The Delaware Electronic Reporting Surveillance System (DERSS) is aimed specifically at bioterrorism and disease outbreaks, and is partially funded with federal money as a component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Electronic Disease Surveillance System. With the system in place, public health officials will be able to relay and search health information in real time. That will allow them to, among other things, quickly detect trends that could lead to identification of an outbreak and help manage the response.

Northrop Grumman, which is also heads up public health surveillance systems for multiple states and at the CDC, leads a team that includes Information Builders Inc. and Visual Risk Technologies Inc. Those companies bring Web intelligence and geographic information systems to the DERSS program, respectively. Both technologies are critical to fast collaboration among health professionals spread across the state and the country.

"When fully operational, DERSS can reduce the current reporting time from potentially two weeks to as little as 24 hours, saving valuable time between initial identification and the necessary investigation operations," Leroy Hathcock, Delaware state epidemiologist at the Public Health Division, said in a statement.

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