NetEpi Case Manager V0.9 (late beta) available

Version 0.9 of NetEpi Case Manager is now available here. NetEpi Case Manager is a tool for securely collecting structured information about cases and contacts of communicable (and other) diseases of public health importance, through Web browsers and the Internet. New data collection forms can be designed and deployed quickly by epidemiologists, using a Web browser ‘point-and-click’ interface, without the need for knowledge of or training in any programming language.

Development of Case Manager has been motivated in large part by the challenge of collecting a rapidly changing set of data items from many sources in the event of an outbreak of an emerging communicable disease, such as SARS and HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza). However, we hope that it has utility in addressing other distributed, ad hoc data collection problems in the public health and health care domains.

The application allows data to be be collected from authenticated users of the system, who can be located anywhere in the world, into a centralised database. All that is needed by users of the system is a relatively recent Web browser and an Internet connection (“NetEpi” is short for “Network-enabled Epidemiology”).

A list of prerequisites and installation notes are available at

Version 0.9 incorporates a large number of improvements over previous versions, including:

* simplification of and cosmetic improvements to the user interface and workflow – sample screenshots available at;

* greater robustness and improved security;

* improved validation of field inputs;

* the ability to specify help pages (and images) for each question on a form;

* the ability to roll-forward data collected with previous versions of a form to the latest version;

* the ability to export contact as well as case information in a “flattened” format suitable for analysis and reporting;

* comprehensive end-user and administrator guides (the latter over 100 pages long);

* additional installation options to allow easier customisation;

* much greater speed when deployed via FastCGI on the Web server;

* an initial suite of functional tests using the excellent open source Selenium web application test environment, as well as some additional unit tests.

We welcome feedback (and bug reports) on this new release, as well as contributions to future releases. Please contact us directly by email or
use the NetEpi mailing list (see ).

Apart from contributions from experienced Python programmers, we would be very happy to hear from anyone willing to do further work on the
documentation (using OpenOffice2), and from anyone willing to write additional Selenium test scripts (programming expertise not required, although a degree of patience and a logical, systematic approach to the task is essential).

Tim Churches and Andrew McNamara

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