Enhancing Drug Overdose Alerts with Spatial Visualization


Since 2008, drug overdose deaths exceeded the number of motor vehicle traffic-related deaths in Indiana, and the gap continues to widen1. While federal funding opportunities are available for states, it often takes years for best practices to be developed, shared, and published. Similarly, local health departments (LHDs) may experience lengthy delays to receive finalized county health statistics. Indiana collects and stores syndromic emergency department data in the Public Health Emergency Surveillance System (PHESS) and uses the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics version 1.21 (ESSENCE) to monitor public health events and trends. In July 2017, the Indiana Overdose Surveillance Team (IOST) developed a standard process for monitoring and alerting local health partners of increases in drug overdoses captured in ESSENCE at the county level. ISDH is enhancing these alerts by mapping the data in GIS and providing spatiotemporal data to LHDs to inform more targeted intervention and prevention efforts.

Objective: This poster presentation shares Indiana's approach of alerting local health departments (LHDs) with near real-time drug overdose data and how this process has been enhanced through mapping and analysis with a geographic information system (GIS).

Primary Topic Areas: 
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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