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ISDS 2014: 'Twixt Miami and Denver

Since the ISDS annual meeting is in December, every year I bring home Christmas ornaments for my kids representing the city I visited. The other night we hung 6 years worth of those ornaments on the tree–a moose from Park City, St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, the Constitution from Philadelphia–bringing back quite a few […]

Enter the Enterovirus

The recent outbreak of human enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) poses several challenges to syndromic surveillance. Its presentation can resemble any number of other upper respiratory infections of varying severity. The timing coincided with the end of school summer vacation, a time of year when respiratory illnesses are always spread. Differentiation based on key symptoms is theoretically […]

Breezing through Nashville

As promised, I had the opportunity to present my poster “Visualizing Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Emergency Department Utilization during a Polar Vortex” at the 2014 CSTE Annual Conference in Nashville, TN. Thanks to everyone who stopped by; I think it was generally well received. As an experiment in visualization, it was a moderate success. Most folks […]

The Affordable Care Act Goes to the Emergency Department

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been promoted with two major goals: expanding health insurance coverage and reducing healthcare costs. Part of the cost reduction is expected to be achieved through the expanded coverage. The proposal is that uninsured patients make use of the emergency department of their local hospital as a primary healthcare option […]

Predicting Disease with Google & Comets

Google Flu has been getting a lot of coverage lately, mostly for how it is getting the flu “wrong.” There was a Nature news item in February about Google Flu overestimating the peak of the current flu season. Not to be outdone, Science followed up a month later with an article on the forecast errors […]

The ACA, Urban Legends, and Data

For years an urban legend has circulated that the poor and uninsured use emergency departments as a substitute for a doctor visit because hospitals are non-profits and won’t turn these sick and injured patients away. You don’t have to be in healthcare or public health to “know” that hospitals won’t or can’t turn anyone away. […]