Administrative and syndromic surveillance data can enhance public health surveillance

Tara C. Anderson, Hussain Yusuf, Amanda McCarthy, Katrina Trivers, Peter Hicks, Michael Coletta, Violanda Grigorescu


ObjectiveThis roundtable will address how multiple data sources, includingadministrative and syndromic surveillance data, can enhance publichealth surveillance activities at the local, state, regional, and nationallevels. Provisional findings from three studies will be presented topromote discussion about the complementary uses, strengths andlimitations, and value of these data sources to address public healthpriorities and surveillance strategies.IntroductionHealthcare data, including emergency department (ED) andoutpatient health visit data, are potentially useful to the publichealth community for multiple purposes, including programmaticand surveillance activities. These data are collected through severalmechanisms, including administrative data sources [e.g., MarketScanclaims data1; American Hospital Association (AHA) data2] andpublic health surveillance programs [e.g., the National SyndromicSurveillance Program (NSSP)3]. Administrative data typically becomeavailable months to years after healthcare encounters; however, datacollected through NSSP provide near real time information nototherwise available to public health. To date, 46 state and 16 localhealth departments participate in NSSP, and the estimated nationalpercentage of ED visits covered by the NSSP BioSense platform is54%. NSSP’s new data visualization tool, ESSENCE, also includesadditional types of healthcare visit (e.g., urgent care) data. AlthoughNSSP is designed to support situational awareness and emergencyresponse, potential expanded use of data collected through NSSP(i.e., by additional public health programs) would promote the utility,value, and long-term sustainability of NSSP and enhance surveillanceat the local, state, regional, and national levels. On the other hand,studies using administrative data may help public health programsbetter understand how NSSP data could enhance their surveillanceactivities. Such studies could also inform the collection and utilizationof data reported to NSSP.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *