211860 Research Priorities for Syndromic Surveillance Systems Response: An Expert Panel Summary

Monday, November 9, 2009: 10:30 AM

Corey Farrell, MPH , Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD
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
Richard Rothman, MD, PhD , Emergency Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD
Charlotte Gaydos, DrPH , School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Study Objective: To identify research priorities for the field of syndromic surveillance (SS) systems response. Methods: We convened a group of eleven experts in SS response in Baltimore, Maryland in February 2009. Experts from across the U.S., representing federal, state, local, and city government as well as the military and academia, participated in a nominal group technique exercise of four steps: individual brainstorming, round-robin sharing of ideas, clarification/consolidation of ideas, and rating/ranking of research areas. Research topics considered by more than 70% of the experts to be critical to advancing the field were categorized as priorities. Results: The individual brainstorming session yielded 45 research topics that were subsequently categorized, synthesized, and refined by the panel. Panel members rated a total of 19 research questions, three of which were identified as priorities for future research. These included: 1) How should different types of evidence and complementary data systems be integrated (merging data, visualizations)? 2) What criteria should be used to prioritize alerts? 3) How SS best be used in an electronic medical record environment? Discussion: Expert panel members, primarily systems' monitors with hands-on experience, were able to reach consensus regarding three research priority areas in SS systems response. Results indicate that the major challenge facing health departments is how to deal with the problem of abundance with respect to alerts and data from dissimilar sources. The process outlined here is a replicable process that public health practitioners can use to communicate their needs to systems' developers and public health researchers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify research priorities in the area of syndromic surveillance systems response. 2. Describe a modified nominal group technique exercise to inform a research agenda in the area of syndromic surveillance systems response

Keywords: Public Health Research, Data/Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I contributed to the design of the research, data analysis, and publication proce3ss
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.