Comparing Syndromic Data to Discharge Data to Measure Opioid Overdose Emergency Department Visits


Timely and accurate measurement of overdose morbidity using emergency department (ED) data is necessary to inform an effective public health response given the dynamic nature of opioid overdose epidemic in the United States. However, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, differing sources and types of ED data vary in their quality and comprehensiveness. Many jurisdictions collect timely emergency department data through syndromic surveillance (SyS) systems, while others may have access to more complete, but slower emergency department discharge datasets. State and local epidemiologists must make decisions regarding which datasets to use and how to best operationalize, interpret, and present overdose morbidity using ED data. These choices may affect the number, timeliness, and accuracy of the cases identified.

Objective: Epidemiologists will understand the differences between syndromic and discharge emergency department data sources, the strengths and limitations of each data source, and how each of these different emergency department data sources can be best applied to inform a public health response to the opioid overdose epidemic.

Original Publication Year: 
Event/Publication Date: 
January, 2019

June 18, 2019

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National Syndromic
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The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) is a collaboration among states and public health jurisdictions that contribute data to the BioSense Platform, public health practitioners who use local syndromic surveillance systems, Center for Disease Control and Prevention programs, other federal agencies, partner organizations, hospitals, healthcare professionals, and academic institutions.

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