Enhanced Influenza Surveillance using Telephone Triage Data in the VA ESSENCE Biosurveillance System

Telephone triage is a relatively new data source available to biosurveillance systems.1-2Because early detection and warning is a high priority, many biosurveillance systems have begun to collect and analyze data from non-traditional sources [absenteeism records, overthe-counter drug sales, electronic laboratory reporting, internet searches (e.g. Google Flu Trends) and TT]. These sources may provide disease activity alerts earlier than conventional sources. Little is known about whether VA telephone program influenza data correlates with established influenza biosurveillance.

March 19, 2018

Establishing a Federal and State Data Exchange Pilot for Public Health Situational Awareness

ASPR deploys clinical assets, including an EMR system, to the ground per state requests during planned and no-notice events. The analysis of patient data collected by deployed federal personnel is an integral part of ASPR and FDOH’s surveillance efforts. However, this surveillance can be hampered by the logistical issues of field work in a post-disaster environment leading to delayed analysis and interpretation of these data to inform decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels.

March 19, 2018

Utility of System Generated Syndromic Surveillance Alerts to Detect Reportable Disease Outbreaks

Reportable disease case data are entered into Merlin by all 67 county health departments in Florida and assigned confirmed, probable, or suspect case status. De-identified reportable disease data from Merlin are sent to ESSENCE-FL once an hour for further analysis and visualization using tools in the surveillance system. These data are available for ad hoc queries, allowing users to monitor disease trends, observe unusual changes in disease activity, and to provide timely situational awareness of emerging events.

July 18, 2018

Utilization of ESSENCE in the Cloud for Enhanced Surveillance during the 2012 NATO Summit

Electronic public health surveillance serves an especially important function during mass events. Megan Patel, from the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH), will discuss the use of the cloud-based ESSENCE system for situational awareness during the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, IL. This webinar will highlight improved functionality obtained via the cloud-based version of ESSENCE, as well as provide a real-life example of utilization.

The webinar will cover:

May 15, 2019

Hierarchical Filtering of ESSENCE for Routine, Distributed Disease Monitoring by the Veterans Health Administration

The VA has employed ESSENCE for health monitoring since 2006 [1]. Epidemiologists at the Office of Public Health (OPH) monitor the VA population at the national level. The system is also intended for facility-level monitoring to cover 152 medical centers, nearly 800 community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC), and other facilities serving all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. For the entire set of facilities and current syndrome groupings, investigation of the full set of algorithmic alerts is impractical for the group of monitors using ESSENCE.

May 02, 2019

Monitoring and auditing the transfer of syndromic surveillance data to ensure data completeness

The electronic surveillance system for the early notification of community-based epidemics (ESSENCE) is the web-based syndromic surveillance system utilized by DHMH. ESSENCE utilizes a secure, automated process for the transfer of data to the ESSENCE system. Data sources in the Maryland ESSENCE system include emergency department (ED) chief complaints, poison control center calls, over-the-counter (OTC) medication sales, and pharmaceutical transaction data (for certain classes of anti-bacterial and anti-viral medication).

May 02, 2019

The Evolution of ESSENCE

In development for over fourteen years, ESSENCE is a disease surveillance system utilized by public health stakeholders at city, county, state, regional, national, and global levels. The system was developed by a team from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) with substantial collaborations with the US Department of Defense Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response System (DoD GEIS), US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and numerous public health departments.

May 02, 2019

Florida’s ESSENCE system - from syndromic surveillance to routine epidemiologic analysis across syndromic and non-syndromic data sources

Federal laws and national directives have focused attention on the development of more robust biosurveillance systems intended to detect events of public health interest in a timelier manner. Presidential Decision Directive 21 calls for integrated biosurveillance data, enhanced clinician awareness, and an epidemiologic surveillance system with sufficient flexibility to tailor analyses to new syndromes and emerging diseases. In 2007, a statewide syndromic surveillance system (ESSENCE) was implemented and hospitals were recruited to participate.

June 17, 2019

Maryland ESSENCE expansion to incorporate prescription medication data

Maryland has a powerful syndromic surveillance system, ESSENCE, which is used for the early detection of disease outbreaks, suspicious patterns of illness, and public health emergencies. ESSENCE incorporates traditional and nontraditional health indicators from multiple data sources (emergency department chief complaints, over-the-counter (OTC) medication sales, and poison control center data).

June 18, 2019

Biosurveillance applications for resource-limited settings: open ESSENCE and ESSENCE desktop edition

More than a decade ago, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) developed the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (Enterprise ESSENCE), which is currently used by federal, state and local health authorities in the US.

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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