Sensitivity and Specificity of the Fever Syndromes in BioSense and ESSENCE


Syndromic surveillance refers to the monitoring of disease related events, sets of clinical features (i.e. syndromes), or other indicators in a population. Tennessee obtains emergency department data for syndromic surveillance in standardized HL7 format following the field and value set standards published by the Public Health Information Network. Messages contain information previously unavailable to syndromic surveillance systems, including quantitative values such as recorded temperature. Data are received daily and processed by a Tennessee ESSENCE application and the national BioSense platform.

These systems use chief complaint keywords, ICD9 codes, and other algorithms to assign syndromes for each record. The differences between the BioSense and ESSENCE syndrome assignments have not been well defined. Detailed comparisons of syndrome assignment across tools are difficult to perform due to the intensity of the manual review required. However, definitions of fever can be easily confirmed in HL7 messages when the recorded temperature is provided. Currently, both the BioSense and ESSENCE syndrome definitions exclude recorded temperature from consideration when assigning syndromes.

To compare the performance of the fever syndromes used by BioSense and ESSENCE, recorded temperature data was used as the gold standard.


To objectively compare the BioSense and ESSENCE fever syndromes using recorded temperature as a gold standard.

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Event/Publication Date: 
December, 2015

September 08, 2017

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