Monitoring and auditing the transfer of syndromic surveillance data to ensure data completeness


The electronic surveillance system for the early notification of community-based epidemics (ESSENCE) is the web-based syndromic surveillance system utilized by DHMH. ESSENCE utilizes a secure, automated process for the transfer of data to the ESSENCE system. Data sources in the Maryland ESSENCE system include emergency department (ED) chief complaints, poison control center calls, over-the-counter (OTC) medication sales, and pharmaceutical transaction data (for certain classes of anti-bacterial and anti-viral medication). All data sources have statewide coverage and are captured daily in near real-time fashion. OIT developed a web based application in conjunction with OP&R to allow the epidemiologists involved in the ESSENCE program to monitor and audit the transfer of this data. The application allows the user to indicate whether or not each data file has been consumed into ESSENCE for any date of the year. The user can edit these daily entries at any time to update the status of the data that has been received. The user may also query the database by data source, date, and date range to generate a report. The database also contains contact information for technical and infection control staff at the hospitals that participate in the ESSENCE program. Finally, the application can also generate reports that detail which users have logged into ESSENCE, when the log-in occurred, and which pages within ESSENCE were visited.


To describe the application and process developed by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) Office of Preparedness and Response (OP&R) and Office of Information Technology (OIT) for monitoring and auditing the transfer of syndromic surveillance data.

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Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2011

May 02, 2019

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