Assessment of a Surveillance Case Definition for Heroin Overdose in Emergency Medical Services Data


In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded 12 states, under the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) program, to utilize state Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and emergency department (ED) syndromic surveillance (SyS) data systems to increase timeliness of state data on drug overdoses. A key aspect of the ESOOS program is the development and validation of case definitions for drug overdoses for EMS and ED SyS data systems. Kentucky's ESOOS team conducted a pilot validation study of a candidate EMS case definition for HOD, using data from the Kentucky State Ambulance Reporting System (KStARS). We examined internal, face validity of the EMS HOD case definition by reviewing pertinent information captured in KStARS data elements; and we examined external agreement with HOD cases identified Kentucky’s statewide hospital billing database.


The aims of this project were 1) to assess the validity of a surveillance case definition for identifying heroin overdoses (HOD) in a NEMSIS 3 compliant, state ambulance reporting system; and 2) to develop an approach that can be applied to assess the validity of case definitions for other types of drug overdose events in similar data state data systems.

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January, 2018

January 25, 2018

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