Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Approaches for Syndromic Surveillance

The interest in syndromic surveillance in Ontario hospitals is understandably high given their experience with SARS in early 2003. The adoption of syndromic surveillance in hospital settings worldwide has been gradual, with mostly public health agencies and defense agencies taking an interest in this surveillance method. Since syndromic surveillance is dependent on early patient contact, and care delivery models are drastically changing, new opportunities for syndromic surveillance emerge.

There’s been plenty of talk on Google Flu Trends since it launched in early 2009 in the midst of H1N1. Twitter and other Web 2.0 platforms are similarly being used to track syndromic trends to detect early outbreaks. CDC has even suggested that as retail health clinics like RediClinic and MinuteClinic, with their modern IT infrastructure and national presence, serve as early detectors of syndromic trends.

As personal health records gain in adoption, these could also provide opportunities for de-identified surveillance for targeted syndromes.

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