Due to federal Meaningful Use regulations, syndromic surveillance has gone from being a fairly obscure concept to one that is now familiar–if not entirely understood–by almost every segment of healthcare provider. Health Monitoring Systems was founded long before the advent of the federal meaningful use program, and we have always had a broader vision of “Community Health Surveillance,” with syndromic surveillance being just one (key) piece of the broader surveillance network.
The EpiCenter platform is capable of incorporating air and water quality data, poison control center data, lab data, and now increasingly data from ambulatory providers, along with hospital/urgent care data, to provide a more complete picture of the health of a community. This also allows data collected through EpiCenter to function as a key resource in support of evidence-based public health initiatives.
The Association of State & Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) recently released an evidence-based toolkit for public health. The toolkit aims to help public health officials address a range of complex health problems using a common framework to develop evidence-based interventions. The framework begins with a community assessment, then recommends processes for quantifying the issue, developing a concise statement of the issue, determining what is known using scientific literature, developing and prioritizing program and policy options, developing an action plan and implementing interventions, and evaluating the program or policy. Case studies explored by the ASTHO employ the evidence-based methodology to address issues like immunization rates, employee wellness, and increasing a community’s daily physical activity.
Health Monitoring Systems’ data analysts have worked alongside our partners in public health to leverage the data in EpiCenter in support of programs and initiatives related to severe weather, hospital readmissions, traumatic/work-related injuries and drug or alcohol-related concerns. We are currently developing tools for more in-depth analysis of data related to chronic diseases like diabetes and asthma. If you’re working on your own evidence-based initiative, we’d love to hear about it.