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Approach to Onboarding Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Data Into a Syndromic Surveillance System


Syndromic surveillance has become an integral component of public health surveillance efforts within the state of Florida. The near real-time nature of these data are critical during events such as the Zika virus outbreak in Florida in 2016 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Additionally, syndromic surveillance data are utilized to support daily reportable disease detection and other surveillance efforts. Although syndromic systems typically utilize emergency department (ED) visit data, ESSENCE-FL also includes data from non-traditional sources: urgent care center visit data, mortality data, reportable disease data, and Florida Poison Information Center Network (FPICN) data. Inclusion of these data sources within the same system enables the broad accessibility of the data to more than 400 users statewide, and allows for rapid visualization of multiple data sources in order to address public health needs. Currently, the ESSENCE-FL team is actively working to incorporate EMS data into ESSENCE-FL to further increase public health surveillance capacity and data visualization.

Objective: To describe the strategy and process used by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Bureau of Epidemiology to onboard emergency medical services (EMS) data into FDOH’s syndromic surveillance system, the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE-FL).

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