MDSS Frequently Asked Questions

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Michigan Disease
Surveillance Systems

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Michigan Disease Surveillance System
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions
  1. Aggregate Case Questions
  2. Browser Related Questions
  3. Case Viewing and Editing Questions
  4. De-duplication Questions
  5. Disease Specific Form Questions
  6. Exporting Questions
  7. Geocoding and Mapping Questions
  8. NETSS Export Questions
  9. Registration Questions
  10. System Administration Questions
Aggregate Case Questions
  1. Do I need to enter the Aggregate Case counts on a specific day?
    You do not need to enter Aggregate Case counts on a specific day. However, they must be entered prior to cutoff for the NETSS Export which is midnight Saturday.
  2. Can I go back and change the Aggregate Case counts?
    You cannot change Aggregate Case counts prior to the cutoff.  Once the week has passed, you cannot change the Aggregate Case counts.
Browser Related Questions
  1. How do I clear my Internet Explorer temporary files?
    To clear your temporary files (cache), follow the steps outlined below:
    1. Open Internet Explorer.
    2. Open the "Tools" Menu.
    3. Select the "Internet Options" option. This screen is divided into three sections.
    4. In the "Temporary Internet Files" section, click the button DELETE FILES.
    5. Check the box for "Delete all offline content."
    6. Click the OK button.
    7. Click OK again to close the "Internet Options" window.
    8. Close your Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Is it possible to have frequent entries in certain fields to be recognized, similar to what is done in Excel?
    Because of the sensitive nature of the MDSS data, MDCH requires that the browsers do not capture this data. 
Case Viewing and Editing Questions
  1. Shouldn't a user be able to view a case that he/she entered?
    In most cases, yes. The exception is for the role of "Submitting Laboratory." This role cannot view cases. They will eventually receive a confirmation when a case has been successfully entered. 
  2. I don't see the "Print Investigation" button that used to appear on the lower, left corner of the "Case Detail" screens. Where did it go?
    The "Print Investigation" functionality that you are referring to has been temporarily removed. It will return at a later date. 
  3. How was the investigator assigned for the historic records that were loaded from LHDSURV onto the MDSS?
    Waiting Response. 
  4. When a county sends a case to another jurisdiction, is there an understood rule that is should be sent with an "Investigation Status" of "New"?
    No, some of the follow-up most likely has been done so the case is technically "Active". 
  5. How is the MMWR week decided?
    MMWR week is decided based on the referral date. MMWR weeks starts on Sunday and goes through midnight Saturday. 
  6. Is MMWR week shown on a completed case, and if so, where is it?
    This is an upcoming enhancement scheduled for the next release. It will be displayed on the "Case Details", "Case Reporting" screen. 
  7. What do we enter for 'Parent' when the patient is a child who requires a parent's name, and there is no parent?
    Enter the parent first name as "Not" and the parent last name as "Available." 
  8. What if there is only the name of a clinic for the 'person' making the referral?
    Until handling of facilities is implemented, we recommend using one of the name fields, such as providing referral first name (consistently) for this and using a fixed string, such as "FACILITY" in the providing referral last name. We could then convert these names later.
  9. How is the "Patient Age" calculated, it doesn't appear to be the patient's current age.
    The patient's age is not the patient's current age. It is the age at disease onset, which is calculated as the difference between the "Date of Birth" and "Onset Date" (or "Referral Date," if "Onset Date" is unavailable.)
  10. How do I add a new address without getting the "Overlapping Address" error?
    You must first define an ending date for the existing address.
  11. Why doesn't my case appear in my Case listings?
    There are several reasons why a case does not appear on the Case Listings screen. Below are some of the common reasons:
    • You need to refresh your "Search" results. Click the SEARCH button on your case listings screen. For more information, refer to the section Cases in the MDSS User Guide or Online Help.
    • Your selected search excludes your case from displaying. Select a search that does not exclude the case. For more information, refer to the section Selecting a Different Search in the MDSS User Guide or Online Help.
    • The case may have been re-assigned to another investigator. For more information, refer to the section Case Reassignment in the MDSS User Guide or Online Help.
    • The investigation address may have changed causing it to be sent to another jurisdiction. Please refer to the section Impact of Updating a Case in the MDSS User Guide or Online Help.
    • The reportable condition may have changed and is now within another program area. Please refer to the section Impact of Updating a Case in the MDSS User Guide or Online Help.
    • Your case has been sent to the Pending Work Queue for review by the Local Health Jurisdiction administrator. Please refer to the section Pending Work Queue in the MDSS User Guide or Online Help.
De-Duplication Questions
  1. What happens to a case that has been deferred to the State for de-duplication?
    Cases deferred to the state for de-duplication go to the Pending Work Queue. This queue is accessible by the LHJ Administrators and "SuperUser" within the System Administration module. Users within these two roles can go through this queue and resolve the de-duplications. The process for de-deuplcation in the Pending Work queue is the same as doing it from case entry. 
Disease Specific Form Questions
  1. I'm getting the following error when I attempt to ACTIVATE a Disease Specific Form: "Cannot handle content text/html: charset ISO8859-1".
    Make sure Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader is set to display within the browser. To check this setting:
    1. From your "Program" menu, open your Adobe program.
    2. Open the "Edit" Menu.
    3. Click the "Preferences" option.
    4. Select the "Internet" option.
    5. Verify the box for "Display PDF in browser" is checked.
    6. If the "Display PDF in browser" is not checked, check it and click the OK button.
    7. Close the Adobe program.
  2. When I bring up a Disease Specific Form, the buttons (ACTIVATE, SUBMIT FORM, etc) are not appearing.
    Make sure Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader is set to display within the browser. To check this setting:
    1. From your "Program" menu, open your Adobe program.
    2. Open the "Edit" Menu.
    3. Click the "Preferences" option.
    4. Select the "Internet" option.
    5. Verify the box for "Display PDF in browser" is checked.
    6. If the "Display PDF in browser" is not checked, check it and click the OK button.
    7. Close the Adobe program.
  3. When I try to display a PDF from, I'm getting blank screen along with system error.
    Make sure the "Do not save encrypted pages to disk" is checked within your Internet Explorer Internet options:
    1. Click the "Tools" option in the Internet Explorer browser window.
    2. Select "Internet Options" from the menu list.
    3. Display the "Advanced" tab.
    4. Scroll to the section entitled "Security".
    5. If the "Do not save encrypted pages to disk" setting is checked, uncheck it and click the APPLY button.
    6. Click the OK button to close the "Internet Options" window.
  4. I cannot open a PDF when I hit the DETAIL button or when I try to "Display Supplemental Forms".  In addition, when viewing a report in PDF format and hitting "Open", it tries to force me to save to file to the desk top.
    Make sure the "Do not save encrypted pages to disk" is checked within your Internet Explorer Internet options:
    1. Click the "Tools" option in the Internet Explorer browser window.
    2. Select "Internet Options" from the menu list.
    3. Display the "Advanced" tab.
    4. Scroll to the section entitled "Security".
    5. If the "Do not save encrypted pages to disk" setting is not checked, check it and click the APPLY button.
    6. Click the OK button to close the "Internet Options" window.
  5. I have checked my Internet Explorer options and my Adobe Preferences, they are set correctly but I continue to have problems viewing, activating, or submitting the Disease Specific Forms.
    If you have checked your settings and they are set as follows:
    • "Do not save encrypted pages to disk" is checked in the "Advanced" internet options of Internet Explorer.
    • "Display PDF in browser" is checked in the "Internet" Preferences of your Adobe software.

    You may have an issue with the installation of the Adobe software. The following outlines the necessary steps for un-installing and re-installing Adobe software:
    1. Using the Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs - uninstall the current Adobe Acrobat or Reader software.
    2. Restart your machine.
    3. Install the desired Adobe version.
    4. Restart your machine.
    5. Verify that "Display PDF is browser" is checked in the Adobe Preferences.
    6. Try the MDSS Disease Specific forms again.
    Please note - it is extremely important that you restart your machine after the uninstall and install.

    If you have done all of this and you continue to experience problems, you will have to manually uninstall the Adobe software by:
    • Go to http://www.adobe.com.support/products/acrobat.html
    • In the right column under "Support Knowledgebase", in the box labeled "type your information here" - type exactly the following phrase: manually remove acrobat
    • Click the red, circular "Continue" button.
    • Scroll or tab through the pages to find instructions for your particular version, platform, and operating system.
  6. How do I "unselect" a radio button in a Disease Specific form?
    Simply re-click the undesired option and it will become un-selected. 
  7. What are the fields "Local Field 1" and "Local Field 2" on the bottom of the Disease Specific form?
    These fields are for Local Health Departments to use at their discretion. 
  8. I am having difficulty selecting an option from certain pulldowns within the PDF form. Is there any way to resolve this?
    It is a problem within the functionality of the Adobe software versions 6.0 and higher. It only appears where the pulldown (drop-down) boxes are located on the page break of the PDF form. There are a couple of options:
    • You can un-install the Adobe 6.0 or higher version and install the Adobe 5.1 version. Refer to "Appendix A - Setting up Your System" in the User Guide or Online Help for more information.
    • Use the arrow keys to select from the pulldown (drop-down) that fall over the page break.
Exporting Questions
  1. Why isn't "Onset Date" included in the data export?
    The "Onset Date" and "Referral Date" will be included in the data export as part of an upcoming release of MDSS. 
Geocoding and Mapping Questions
  1. How do oddball addresses like "1101-A Street" or "25 1/2 Avenue" get mapped correctly?
    The "Address Cleaner" will attempt to convert these addresses to USPS standards before Geocoding. It strips the "-A " and "1/2" off from the address and uses "1101 Street" and "25 Avenue" to map the coordinates. 
  2. What are the rules for mapping similar cases?
    Similar cases will appear on the Case Map with a blue star if they follow the criteria listed below:
    • The case must have the same reportable condition.
    • The "Onset Date" (or "Referral Date" if "Onset Date" is unavailable) must be greater than or equal to the current date minus 7 days.
    • The "Case Status" must be "Confirmed," "Probable," "Suspect" or "Unknown." This excludes cases that are designated as "Not a Case."
    • The "Investigation Status" must be "Active," "New," or "Completed." This excluded cases that are designated as "Canceled" or "Superseded."
    • The case must be within the user's jurisdiction.
  3. How does "Onset Date" factor into how a case is mapped?
    The "Onset Date" (or "Referral Date" if "Onset Date" is unavailable) must be greater than or equal to the current date minus 7 days. 
  4. When mapping similar illnesses, does the system work forwards from a "Referral Date" as well as backwards?
    Yes, however, the system only uses the "Referral Date" if the "Onset Date" is unavailable. 
  5. If I open a case from 5 days ago, will it map a case of the same disease that was entered today?
    Yes, the "Onset Date" of 5 days ago is greater than the current date minus 7 days. 
  6. Is "Map similar cases within the last 7 days" based strictly on Referral Date?
    The system only uses the "Referral Date" if the "Onset Date" is unavailable. 
  7. If I open a case with an Onset Date of 2 months ago, how will the system map this case and any similar cases?
    It will map the current case regardless of the "Onset Date." "Onset Date" or "Referral Date" is only used to determine which cases fall within the last 7 days. Similar cases will be mapped that fall within the last 7 days of the current date. 
  8. If the patient's street address or city and zip code do not match, is there a check in the system to catch this? How would CGI code this?
    This validity checking is requested for street-city-zip, but isn't fully implemented. Currently, what happens depends on which parts of the address were entered:
    • If you enter the street address, city and zip, the city may be corrected; based on zip code.
    • If you enter only the street address and city, the zip will be filled in.
  9. How do we get cases assigned to the correct health department when a zip code is shared by two health departments? How do we get them back to the correct health department?
    Remove the Zip Code and/or City from the address and select the County. 
NETSS Export Questions
  1. If a "Closed" case is re-opened, edited and re-closed all during the same MMWR week (and prior to NETSS export), will the most current information will be exported?
    Yes, the most current information will be exported. 
  2. If a "Closed" case that has been exported in NETSS is re-opened, edited and re-closed in a subsequent MMWR week, will the edits (for data that are sent to CDC) be incorporated in the next NETSS export? If not, will that have to be addressed in our annual "data cleanup" or is that when a "Year to Date" reset should be used?
    The case will be exported again with the latest changes. Year-to-Date Reset is used in event our data becomes out of sync with the CCD data. In this case, the CDC would request a year-to-date file. 
  3. Let's say it's February 28, 2005 and we're all done "cleaning up" the 2004 data.  Now we want to send a final extract to the CDC.  Would the NETSS export for 52-2004 (or whatever the last MMWR week is) capture all of the edits or will we need to do something special?
    If you do an export with the last MMWR week of the year, it will export any case in the year that has not been exported yet. It will also export any case in the year that has been changed since it was last exported. A Year-to-Date Reset, on the other hand, will export *every* case in that year, regardless of whether it has been exported or changed. 
  4. If I re-active a case, change the Dx and then close it again, will it change the MMWR week? For example: A chronic HepX case from March is changed to Acute due to some recent lab tests. Will this remain a March case?
    No, it will not change the MMWR week. The MMWR week is set at the time of referral. For legacy data such as the example here, the MMWR week was imported as set by LHDSURV. 
  5. Is a case reported the first Friday after it goes Completed/Confirmed or is it the Friday after the referral date?
    It is reported the Saturday after it becomes Completed/Confirmed. 
Registration Questions
  1. I have a user who has never been able to get into MDSS.
    There could be a variety of issues involved. Please review the section of the User Guide "Appendix B - User Registration" or refer to the same topic in Online Help for detailed instructions. 
  2. The temporary SSO password in my email does not work.
    Depending on the font of the email, it can be difficult to distinguish between a zero and an "o" or a lower case "L" and an upper case "i". Try copying the password directly from the temporary password email and paste it directly into the Password textbox. 
System Administration Questions
  1. How can I find a specific user in the User listing?
    Eventually, MDSS will supply search and sorting functionality to the User List. Until this change is implemented, you can use your browser's "Find (on this page)" feature to locate the user you are looking for. To use this feature, do one of the following:
    • From the browser toolbar menu, click the EDIT button and select the "Find (on this page)" option.
    • Hold down the CONTROL key and F key (CTR+F).
  2. How do I approve people who have submitted a MDSS registration?
    Access the User function within the System Administration module. Locate the user's User ID, click the edit button and assign that person a role. Once a role is assigned, the user will have access to MDSS. 
  3. Is the Pending Work Queue that I see the same that all other state employees see or do we each have our own?
    If your jurisdiction is 'Statewide' and your role is 'SuperUser' - you see the entire Pending Work Queue and it contains items from every jurisdiction.  The only other role which has access to the Pending Work Queue is the 'LHJ Admin' role.  However, this role only see pending work queue items within their jurisdiction.
  4. There are two cases that I want to 'de-merge;' I didn't want to merge them. The cases are in the Replaced patients list but this feature is not functional yet so what do I do?
    Until that functionality is available, you will have to renter the 'merged' case (using New Case) and update the 'merged into' case to make sure you have separated the data appropriately.