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Enhancing TX SyS by integrating EMS and Poison Data for Opioid Overdose Surveillance


In recent years, the number of deaths from illicit and prescription opioids has increased significantly resulting in a national and local public health crisis. According to the Texas Center for Health Statistics, there were 1340 opioid related deaths in 2015.1 In 2005, by comparison, there were 913 opioid related deaths. Syndromic surveillance can be used to monitor overdose trends in near real-time and provide much needed information to public health officials. Texas Syndromic Surveillance (TxS2) is the statewide syndromic surveillance system hosted by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). To enhance the capabilities of TxS2 and to better understand the opioid epidemic, DSHS is integrating both Texas Poison Center (TPC) data and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data into the system. Much of the data collected at public health organizations can be several years old by the time it is released for public use. As a result, there have been major efforts to integrate more real-time data sources for a variety of surveillance needs and during emergency response activities.

Objective: To improve Texas Syndromic Surveillance by integrating data from the Texas Poison Center and Emergency Medical Services for opioid overdose surveillance.

Submitted by elamb on