Using automated medical records for rapid identification of illness syndromes (syndromic surveillance): the example of lower respiratory infection
Published Date:Oct 22 2001
Source:BMC Public Health. 2001; 1:9.
Ambulatory Care Information Systems
Episode Of Care
Health Maintenance Organizations
Medical Records Systems, Computerized
Public Health Informatics
Reproducibility Of Results
Respiratory Tract Infections
Pubmed Central ID:PMC60002
Funding:U90/CCU116997/CC/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
Gaps in disease surveillance capacity, particularly for emerging infections and bioterrorist attack, highlight a need for efficient, real time identification of diseases.
We studied automated records from 1996 through 1999 of approximately 250,000 health plan members in greater Boston.
We identified 152,435 lower respiratory infection illness visits, comprising 106,670 episodes during 1,143,208 person-years. Three diagnoses, cough (ICD9CM 786.2), pneumonia not otherwise specified (ICD9CM 486) and acute bronchitis (ICD9CM 466.0) accounted for 91% of these visits, with expected age and sex distributions. Variation of weekly occurrences corresponded closely to national pneumonia and influenza mortality data. There was substantial variation in geographic location of the cases.
This information complements existing surveillance programs by assessing the large majority of episodes of illness for which no etiologic agents are identified. Additional advantages include: a) sensitivity, uniformity and efficiency, since detection of events does not depend on clinicians' to actively report diagnoses, b) timeliness, the data are available within a day of the clinical event; and c) ease of integration into automated surveillance systems.
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