26 April 2012

PHIN MQF Release 2.6: Syndromic Surveillance Messaging

ISDS is pleased to share that CDC recently released the PHIN Message Quality Framework (MQF) version 2.6. This update adds Syndromic Surveillance Message structural, constraint, and vocabulary validation and other minor updates and fixes. The framework allows for both syndromic surveillance HL7 2.3.1 and 2.5.1 messaging.

Background (From the PHIN MQR Release Notes):
"As a Web application, the Message Quality Framework (MQF) is a flexible framework of services and utilities designed to assist public health partners with preparing and communicating quality standard electronic messages as defined by the applicable messaging, vocabulary, and programmatic standards.

The PHIN Message Quality Framework (MQF) is designed to accompany and to assist other CDC Public Health systems and partners in promoting the use of data and information system standards to advance the development of efficient, integrated, and interoperable surveillance systems at federal, state and local levels.

PHIN MQF supports single message validation and does not support batch processing of messaging at this time. This functionality will be evaluated for a future release."

The MQF allows users to upload an HL7 message or use an example message that is already loaded in the system and view a validation report immediately after the message has been submitted. The user can then make edits to the message and resubmit until all errors have been corrected.

ISDS is excited about this tool and new release for syndromic surveillance messaging and would like to encourage those using these messaging types to explore this valuable framework and resource. Learn more about the MQF and utilize this service by visiting the PHIN MQF webpage.

24 April 2012

Information Exchange Workgroup Meeting Today (4/24)

The following is an announcement from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

The HIT Policy Committee Information Exchange Workgroup is holding a meeting today, Tuesday, April 24th from 2:30 - 4:30 PM EDT to discuss its final recommendations on the Stage 2 NPRM and Standards and Certification draft rules. The workgroup will review and finalize decisions and recommendations on information exchange objectives proposed for State 2. There will be time at the end of the meeting for public comment, which can also be submitted by e-mail.

Participation is available via web conference or audio teleconference. By attending the web conference, you will be able to hear the live audio and see live viewing of shared slides or materials. Teleconferecing will provide audio only. You may learn more about this call and how to participate at the following link: http://healthit.hhs.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=1474&&PageID=17115&mode=2&in_hi_userid=11673&cached=true. You may also find meeting materials and an agenda for the call at the above link.

ISDS encourages its members and community to join the call to hear the discussion and provide input during the public comment period.

20 April 2012

ISDS Meaningful Use Guidelines Update

On March 6, 2012, ISDS released the Draft Guidelines for Syndromic Surveillance Using Inpatient and Ambulatory Clinical Care EHR Data (Draft Guidelines) for a public comment period that ended on April 2nd. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the Draft Guidelines. During the comment period, stakeholders provided a wealth of thoughtful and insightful comments. This commentary is a source of valuable insight that is helping the ISDS Meaningful Use Workgroup recommend guidelines that best reflect the needs of the surveillance community. ISDS greatly appreciates the time and effort of the stakeholder respondents for providing their comments.

Figure 1
ISDS heard from 73 stakeholders in the form of survey responses, email communication, and phone interviews. Out of the 73 respondents, 78% (57) provided comments using the Draft Guidelines Stakeholder Comment Form via SurveyMonkey. The next popular method of feedback was comments provided through e-mail communication by 19% (14) of respondents. Finally, 3% (2) provided feedback during a phone interview. (See figure 1.)

Figure 2

The survey responses included information about the professional background of the respondents which help inform the commentary's perspective. The majority of comments were provided by public health stakeholders (42) followed by researchers (8). ISDS also received feedback from EHR/HIE technology vendors and one eligible healthcare professional or hospital. (See figure 2.)

Over the course of the next month, ISDS staff and the Meaningful Use Workgroup will continue to analyze the comments received and work to incorporate the responses and develop the Provisional Guidelines. The Provisional Guidelines will be released in June for a second round of public comment which will inform the release of the Final Guidelines due in September.

Until then, you can learn more information about the development of these guidelines by visiting the Meaningful Use webpage on the ISDS website. 

If you have any questions, you may contact Charlie Ishikawa, ISDS Associate Director of Public Health Programs, at meaningfuluse@syndromic.org or (617) 779-0886. 

19 April 2012

2012 ISDS Distribute Community of Practice Meeting

April 10 – 11, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia
Distribute was initially developed in 2006 as a proof of concept model funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s BioSense program, with additional funding from the Markle Foundation. During H1N1, Distribute saw expansion in both site participation and functionality. It has fostered new insights into syndromic surveillance practice and has initiated the formation a community of practice focused on supporting and developing the system as well as each other. Distribute participants have contributed greatly to the advancement of the field of syndromic surveillance.

The goal of the 2012 ISDS Distribute Community of Practice Meeting was to foster innovation, focus community interests, and strengthen professional relationships through peer-to-peer learning and information sharing about disease surveillance practice. The meeting did not disappoint! A relevant and stimulating agenda combined with a wonderful group of state and local Distribute data providers from across the country and stakeholders from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO), Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), and Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII), was the perfect recipe for an energizing and thought-provoking environment.

Specific session topics included:
·       Distribute Update
·       A New Framework for the Surveillance Enterprise
·       Monitoring and Maintaining Data Quality
·       BioSense 2.0
·       Meaningful Use: Reports from the Field on Implementation

As a result of the meeting, most participants indicated that they would change their practice based on what they learned. Specifically, some participants mentioned that they will:
·       use the examples of data quality analysis presented to analyze data completeness and timeliness trends of syndromic surveillance data
·       consider the business matrix more in order to see how their health department can use that framework for doing surveillance
·       begin serious discussions regarding BioSense 2.0 participation and ESSENCE in the cloud
·       work to enhance their weekly surveillance reporting
·       incorporate ideas and suggestions from various states presented during the Meaningful Use implementation session

In addition, several action items were generated, including the development of:
·       A roadmap for best practices for syndromic surveillance business process development
·       Best practices for providing feedback/reports
·       Policy brief on the need for sustainable funding for public health surveillance

As the Distribute project draws to a close, the challenge that lies before us [the Distribute Community of Practice] is finding the next energizing topic(s) or project(s) that will advance the field of disease surveillance and continue to strengthen our community.

A full meeting report will be available shortly.

Written by Tera Reynolds, MPH, ISDS Program Manager

12 April 2012

March 2012 Literature Review Update

 ISDS Research Committee
March 30, 2012

The Literature Review bi-monthly calls are a great opportunity to engage with other biosurveillance researchers and practitioners about new journal articles highlighting developments in the field. Literature Review participants are at all career levels, from some of the top professionals in the disease surveillance to those just starting out. It is a great way to stay up on the latest in biosurveillance research and practice and for participants to learn from one another. All levels of participation are welcome – from summarizing an article to joining in on the discussions to just listening.

We had an exciting March call!

Dr. Katie Suda, Associate Professor and Director, University of Tennessee, presented an update on the new Literature Review process. The previous process included creating pubcrawler and Google Scholar searches with the results sent to an ISDS Research Committee Gmail account. However, we had received feedback from members that we were missing relevant literature. Over the course of several weeks, Dr. Suda, along with the Literature Review leadership, developed search strings in PubMed, Embase, and Scopus, consisting of over 100 terms suggested by members from different content areas. Based on the results, we decided that the Scopus search is the most comprehensive – includes articles indexed in both Medline and Embase (compared to pubcrawler which only includes articles indexed in Medline). This updated process dramatically increases the efficiency and range of articles captured. In addition, Dr. Suda has graciously offered to continue to help us to refine our search string as necessary.

One Literature Review contributor chose to summarize Assessing the Continuum of Event-Based Biosurveillance Through an Operational Lens by Corley et al., which offered a characterization framework consisting of eight attribute families meant to accommodate the entire continuum of event-based biosurveillance. The Research Committee proudly welcomed Dr. Courtney Corley, Knowledge Discovery and Informatics Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), on the Literature Review call. He summarized his article and answered participants' questions. Dr. Corley’s presence enhanced the discussion of his research, resulting in a very lively and interactive conversation. The Research Committee would like to thank Dr. Corley for his time and valuable contribution.

Other articles that were discussed included:
·      The Effect of School Dismissal on Rates of Influenza-Like Illness in New York City Schools During the Spring 2009 Novel H1N1 Outbreak by Dr. Joseph R. Egger, SciMetrika, et al., which describes an unusual opportunity to test the effect of school closure on ILI incidence in a situation among schools known to be affected by an epidemic.
·      Using Poison Center Data for National Public Health Surveillance for Chemical and Poison Exposure and Associated Illness by Amy F. Wolkin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al., describing the National Poison Data System and its uses and integration with public health surveillance for situational awareness, identification of early markers of chemical events, and chemical and poising exposures and associated illnesses.
·      A novel experience in the use of control charts for the detection of nosocomial infection outbreaks by Isabel Cristina Gomes, Minas Gerais Federal University, Brazil, et al., which evaluates the use of control charts to monitor nosocomial infection rates in a Brazilian university hospital.
·      Outbreaks of virulent diarrhoeagenic Escherichia coli – are we in control? by Dirk Werber, Robert Koch Institute, Germany, et al., which highlights how the combination of cutting edge laboratory methods and common sense food tracing was applied to fight – what the authors call – an ever-moving target, the constantly evolving diarrhoeagenic E. coli.

The next Literature Review call will be in late May (the exact date will be announced soon).

To view the full summaries from the March call, please click here.

If you would like to be added to the Literature Review e-mail list or have comments/questions, please e-mail Tera Reynolds, ISDS Program Manager.

06 April 2012

New Syndromic Surveillance for Meaningful Use Resource

Syndromic Surveillance for Meaningful Use: Background and Resources
The International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) announces the availability of the document, Syndromic Surveillance for Meaningful Use: Background and Resources (pdf), which was developed by ISDS to provide background information and resources to address a gap in understanding of the Meaningful Use (MUse) requirements related to the syndromic surveillance objective.

The MUse programs, enacted under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009, have launched a new opportunity to improve both individual and population health outcomes by capitalizing on the use of electronic health information. For Stage 1 of the program, providers must meet one of three public health related requirements in order to receive benefits. Syndromic Surveillance is one of the public health options.

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