Foodborne illness is a serious and preventable public health problem affecting 1 in 6 Americans with cost estimates over $50 billion annually. Local health departments license and inspect restaurants to ensure food safety and respond to reports of suspected foodborne illness. The City of St. Louis Department of Health adopted the HealthMap Foodborne Dashboard (Dashboard), a tool that monitors Twitter for tweets about food poisoning in a geographic area and allows the health department to respond. We evaluated the implementation by interviewing employees of the City of St. Louis Department of Health involved in food safety. We interviewed epidemiologists, environmental health specialists, health services specialists, food inspectors, and public information officers. Participants viewed engaging innovation participants and executing the innovation as challenges while they felt the Dashboard had relative advantage over existing reporting methods and was not complex once in place. This study is the first to examine practitioner perceptions of the implementation of a new technology in a local health department. Similar implementation projects should focus more on process by developing clear and comprehensive plans to educate and involve stakeholders prior to implementation.
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Harris, Jenine; Hinyard, Leslie; Beatty, Kate E.; Hawkins, Jared B.; Nsoesie, Elaine O.; Mansour, Raed; and Brownstein, John S.. 2018. Evaluating the Implementation of a Twitter-Based Foodborne Illness Reporting Tool in the City of St. Louis Department of Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Vol.15(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15050833 ISSN: 1661-7827