194800 Framework for the Development of Response Protocols for Public Health Syndromic Surveillance Systems: Expert Panel Recommendations

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 12:35 PM

Lori Uscher-Pines, PhD, MSc , Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Wynnewood, PA
Steven Babin, MD, PhD , Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD
Corey Farrell, MPH , Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
Yu-Hsiang Hsieh, PhD , Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Charlotte Gaydos, DrPH , School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Michael Moskal, MBA , CUBRC Inc, Buffalo, NY
Richard Rothman, MD, PhD , Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Background: Although numerous resources have been devoted to the development and implementation of syndromic surveillance systems, there is very little research or guidance on appropriate responses to systems' alerts to date. Aims: To develop a framework for public health departments to use as a guide in initial design and/or enhancement of syndromic surveillance response protocols and to identify future areas of research to improve response. Methods: In February 2009, we convened a diverse group of 12 experts in the area of response who represented county, city, state, and federal agencies across the United States as well as academic institutions. The group participated in a variety of exercises including Delphi surveys, structured brainstorming, and nominal group techniques. Proceedings were transcribed and analyzed. Results: The expert panel identified 32 “essential elements” for inclusion in public health protocols for response to syndromic surveillance system alerts. These were categorized under the general headings of 1) description of system(s), 2) monitoring policies, 3) response procedures, 4) role of syndromic surveillance response plan within additional health department plans, and 5) “other.” Furthermore, the group formulated a consensus statement on future research needs. Conclusions: Syndromic surveillance systems alone are not effective without an organized public health response. The framework proposed here can guide health departments in creating protocols that will be standardized, tested, and relevant given their goals with such systems.

Learning Objectives:
Identify essential and non-essential components of a syndromic surveillance system response protocol Describe research priorities in syndromic surveillance system response

Keywords: Surveillance, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I coordinated the expert panel meeting, presented at the meeting, and analyzed the results fo the meeting
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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