24 May 2013

Meaningful Use: Which PHIN VADS Value Set Should I Use?

As the guidance documents for the syndromic surveillance objective of Meaningful Use continue to change and improve, there is a constantly evolving set of value sets used and referenced. Many users are utilizing older versions of messaging guides and are unsure whether that provides the most up-to-date value set information.

To solve this problem, ISDS has identified a few hints to use when trying to dig through the various levels of the PHIN VADS value sets and vocabulary. PHIN VADS is CDC’s vocabulary access and distribution system that provides information on value sets and vocabulary for a variety of public health purposes, though this post focuses on syndromic surveillance.

First of all, the status of each value set (i.e., if it’s the most current version or not) is clearly depicted on the PHIN VADS website. For reference, consider the pictures inserted below. The first, referencing FacilityVisitType, shows the value set for Version 1, with a note “not current”. The second, also showing FacilityVisitType, shows the value set for Version 2 with a note “current”.

Looking forward, it may make sense to reference the most current available version when developing syndromic surveillance systems so that there is no need to backtrack later on. All of the items included in, for example, Version 2 of the observation identifier value set, are also included in Version 3. The updated versions add additional value sets and values so you will only be expanding, not diminishing, the capacity by using the most current value set. Release 1.9 of the PHIN Messaging Guide, now available at the CDC website, links up to the most updated versions of each of the value sets.

For additional questions, please contact Becky Zwickl at bzwickl@syndromic.org.

Written by ISDS Public Health Analyst, Becky Zwickl, MPH.

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