How do we present messy syndromic surveillance data to public health’s partners?

How to Cite

Atrubin, D., Ergas, R., & Kite-Powell, A. (2018). How do we present messy syndromic surveillance data to public health’s partners?. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics, 10(1).


Objective: To discuss data disclaimers and caveats that are fundamental to sharing syndromic surveillance (SyS) data


With increasing awareness of SyS systems, there has been a concurrent increase in demand for data from these systems – both from researchers and from the media. The opioid epidemic occurring in the United States has forced the SyS community to determine the best way to present these data in a way that makes sense while acknowledging the incompleteness and variability in how the data are collected at the hospital level and queried at the user level. While significant time and effort are spent discussing optimal queries, responsible presentation of the data - including data disclaimers - is rarely discussed within the SyS community.


This roundtable will provide a forum for national, state, and local users of syndromic surveillance systems to discuss these SyS data disclaimers. Over the last few months, an informal working group has crafted data disclaimer language. Members of this working group will facilitate the discussion and present their template for comment and discussion. Other members of the SyS will be encouraged to share their jurisdiction-specific data disclaimer language. The focus of this roundtable will be on effective communication of emergency department SyS data.

How the Moderator Intends to Engage the Audience in Discussions on the Topic: 

This roundtable is well suited to audience participation as all jurisdictions are faced with how to communicate SyS data. Jurisdictions will likely have varying degrees of experience with disclaimers of this sort, so opportunities for sharing of work will be useful to the broader SyS community.

Sample Questions:
Does your jurisdiction have standardized language that accompanies your SyS data?
How does the SyS community best share data that is often incomplete and subject to inter-hospital variability?
What kinds of reporting would the SyS community like to come from the NSSP?
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