Florida’s ESSENCE system - from syndromic surveillance to routine epidemiologic analysis across syndromic and non-syndromic data sources


Federal laws and national directives have focused attention on the development of more robust biosurveillance systems intended to detect events of public health interest in a timelier manner. Presidential Decision Directive 21 calls for integrated biosurveillance data, enhanced clinician awareness, and an epidemiologic surveillance system with sufficient flexibility to tailor analyses to new syndromes and emerging diseases. In 2007, a statewide syndromic surveillance system (ESSENCE) was implemented and hospitals were recruited to participate. Experience with ESSENCE in the context of the ED data analysis, visualization, and reporting prompted the exploration of integrating new data sources into ESSENCE and new analyses specific to these new data. The purpose of the ESSENCE system is now to provide an intuitive environment for state and local epidemiologists to conduct routine descriptive epidemiologic analysis, to monitor morbidity and mortality trends over time and space and across multiple data sources, thereby providing information that can assist with making decisions on how to improve population health.


Use of the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE) in Florida has evolved from early event detection based on emergency department (ED) chief complaints to routine descriptive epidemiologic analysis, data visualization, and reporting across four different data sources, using and building on tools originally developed for syndromic surveillance.

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Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2010

June 17, 2019

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