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Rapid ad-hoc cross-jurisdictional sharing of syndrome data using Distribute technology


Cross-jurisdictional sharing of public health syndrome data is useful for many reasons, among them to provide a larger regional or national view of activity and to determine if unusual activity observed in one jurisdiction is atypical. Considerable barriers to sharing of public health data exist, including maintaining control of potentially sensitive data and having informatics systems available to take and view data. The Distribute project [1,2] has successfully enabled cross-jurisdictional sharing of ILI syndrome data through a community of practice approach to facilitate control and trust, and a distributed informatics solution. The Gossamer system [3] incorporates methods used in several UW projects including Distribute. Gossamer has been designed in a modular fashion to be hosted using virtual or physical machines, including inside cloud environments. Two modules of the Gossamer system are designed for aggregate data sharing, and provide a subset of the Distribute functionality. The Distribute and Gossamer systems have been used for ad-hoc sharing in three different contexts; sharing of common ILI data for research into syndrome standardization, sharing syndromic data for specific events (2010 Olympics) and for pilot regional sharing of respiratory lab results. Two additional projects are underway to share specific syndromes of recent interest: alcohol related and heat related ED visits.


To demonstrate how rapid adhoc sharing of surveillance data can be achieved through informatics methods developed for the Distribute project.

Submitted by elamb on