Syndromic Surveillance   

Syndromic Surveillance: Submitting Data | On-Boarding Process

What is Syndromic Surveillance?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the term, 'syndromic surveillance', applies to surveillance using health-related data that precede diagnosis and signal a sufficient probability of a case or an outbreak to warrant further public health response.

In general, this refers to the provision of information available at the time of a patient’s first clinical encounter with an outpatient provider or an emergency department to public health authorities. This information incorporates patient identifiers, triage information including temperature, and the provider’s clinical impression, but is most likely incomplete in terms of laboratory testing. The benefit to public health agencies is that this information is much more timely and avoids a potentially lengthy delay required for definitive, laboratory-confirmed diagnoses. As a result, once these syndromic reports exceed a predefined threshold of detection (defined differently for each specific syndrome), disease control and response efforts can be initiated without need for definitive laboratory confirmation. Furthermore, early recognition of and responses to outbreaks can help get them under control earlier and prevent subsequent illness.

Specific Examples: While it is the status quo in terms of infectious disease surveillance, delays in identification of potential outbreaks until confirmatory testing is complete are not ideal. It may help to demonstrate this point with specific examples. It is well recognized that many laboratory studies (e.g.: bacterial enteric pathogen serologic testing, stool culture, or pulsed field gel electrophoresis i.e.: fingerprinting) on potential foodborne illnesses can take 2-3 weeks to be completed and reported to the provider. Further, definitive diagnoses of some vaccine preventable diseases and tick-borne diseases require tests to be repeated roughly a month after the initial tests. A functional syndromic surveillance system could prompt early recognition of these sort of problems; thereby, helping to prevent the outbreak from worsening.

The following table may help illustrate the distinction between syndromic surveillance and traditional surveillance and highlight the great potential of syndromic data.

Distinction between syndromic surveillance and traditional surveillance

Summary: Syndromic surveillance is a relatively new method of disease surveillance that all states are beginning to use to protect their citizens. Syndromic surveillance data will be accepted by the Arkansas Department of Health and handled in accordance with all laws governing protected health information. It will be used to provide early identification of events of public health importance, thereby facilitating more rapid, targeted, and effective response.

Submitting Data

ADH currently accepts electronic submission of syndromic surveillance data from eligible providers and eligible hospitals (including data from both emergency department visits and inpatient admissions).

Eligible providers and Eligible hospitals interested in pursuing the syndromic surveillance Meaningful Use objective may work through the "On-Boarding Process". Urgent care centers are also encouraged to submit syndromic surveillance data to the agency

The Meaningful Use public health option allows Eligible Professionals (EP) or Eligible Hospitals (EH) to electronically submit data on syndromic surveillance using Health Language Seven (HL7) message.

Meaningful Use Syndromic Surveillance On-Boarding Instructions
Syndromic Surveillance Attestation Process


Contact Email
Syndromic Coordinator