DIMACS Working Group on BioSurveillance Data Monitoring and Information Exchange

February 22 - 24, 2006
DIMACS Center, CoRE Building, Rutgers University

David Madigan, Rutgers, Statistics, madigan@stat.rutgers.edu
Colleen Martin, CDC auq4@cdc.gov
Henry Rolka, (CDC), hrr2@cdc.gov
Presented under the auspices of the of the Special Focus on Computational and Mathematical Epidemiology.
BioSurveillance Information Exchange Working Group

Performing biosurveillance data monitoring and analysis using modern public health surveillance systems - procedures, techniques, documentation, informed judgment, and communication

Monitoring biosurveillance data in modern public health surveillance systems involves many skill sets, including epidemiology, statistics, and informatics, as well as the necessity to make rapid decisions based on uncertain information. Modern surveillance systems include health-related data that are transmitted on a near real-time or real-time basis, dynamic, and characteristically noisy, and/or incomplete. Conclusions from such data invariably have a degree of uncertainty which is often difficult to assess. Public health officials responsible for monitoring and responding to these data must examine, analyze, report, escalate, and obtain further information in order to make rapid decisions regarding how to react to information from these systems. An added complication involves the use of multiple systems (such as BioSense, ESSENCE, RODS, EARS, and others) to achieve this goal; the consolidation of information across systems and among jurisdictions is an essential and sometimes difficult task.

The intended audience for this workshop includes public health officials responsible for monitoring and responding to biosurveillance data. The focus will be on issues shared by users of various systems, as opposed to focusing on one system or the other. Users of these systems nationwide have expressed interest in building a peer group for information sharing, communication, and problem solving. Short sessions have been held at the Public Health Information Network (PHIN), National Syndromic Surveillance, and Global Emerging Infection Surveillance (GEIS) Conferences to address these needs and have been well-received by biosurveillance data monitors. The intent of this workshop is to build upon these sessions, to discuss current needs and issues, and to discuss future goals and solutions.

This workshop provides an opportunity for shared dialogue and learning between those practicing monitoring and analysis of biosurveillance data. Workshop goals include the following:

  1. To increase communication and enhance relationship-building among biosurveillance data monitoring and analytic staff nationwide and at all levels of public health
  2. To facilitate information exchange regarding biosurveillance monitoring and data analysis, including data anomaly detection methods, monitoring and anomaly characterization, follow-up and communication protocols, experiences and lessons learned, and system and monitor needs
  3. To frame a biosurveillance data monitors working group

Major topics to be addressed in this workshop may include sharing experiences and lessons learned using various systems, analytical methods, monitoring methods and consolidation of information, and anomaly characterization and follow-up. Presentations and break-out sessions will frame the issues and allow for ample interaction and networking.

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Document last modified on January 5, 2006.