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Syndromic Surveillance

Syndromic surveillance is a system that allows public health to keep in touch with the health of the community in real time. It can allow for rapid identificiation of possible outbrreaks and problems, help public health keep track of ongoing issues, and provide situational awareness about the community.

In Alaska, syndromic surveillance data comes to the Section of Epidemiology via healtheconnect Alaska's health information exchange (HIE). Hospital emergency department visit data is automatically collected, sent to the analysis program, and processed for epidemiologists to review.

Syndromic surveillance in Alaska started with the BioSense program in 2014. Now, we use a new program called ESSENCE, and have many more hospitals participating. This change is part of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program.

 What are we using syndromic surveillance for?

​Syndromic is used for surveillance of many diseases and conditions. Two examples that the public can see are in the Flu Snapshot on our influenza page and in the opioids dashboard on the OSMAP data​ website. Both of these examples show syndromic data together with other data sources to give the best picture of a public health problem.

For Providers and Facilities

Syndromic surveillance is an option for Meaningful Use, however it can only accept data from hospital emergency rooms at this time. Data cannot be accepted from individual providers or outpatient clinics. Hospitals interested in onboarding to BioSense to meet Meaningful Use Measures can contact AeHN.