CDC weaving national information web

Just as public health professionals in North Carolina are building out their public health alert network under the NC-DETECT project, the Health and Human Services Department's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding its nationwide BioSense biosurveillance program.

The BioSense app now gathers information from 32 hospitals in 10 cities. And CDC plans to expand it to more than 35 hospitals by the end of the year.
BioSense gathers patient data in the form of syndromes, as does NC-DETECT'the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiological Collection Tool'as well as other hospital information.

'One of the most important functions of BioSense is that it creates situational awareness. We can look into the data and identify locations where a disease might be occurring,' said Dr. Lynn Steele, director of CDC's Emergency Preparedness and Response Division.

'In the middle of an outbreak, we can see if control measures are working,' she said. 'And it will help us understand when an outbreak is over.'

CDC's BioSense app funnels information coming from hospitals through a data brokering tool that assures that the system is receiving the correct Health Level 7 data, Steele said.

The system gathers data that already exists in hospital IT systems.

'Then it goes into a data warehouse so we can extract the right information and move it in an application or analytical data mart and not slow the production process,' Steele said.

BioSense forms part of CDC's Public Health Information Network project to provide an architecture that will promote data sharing across public health IT systems.

BioSense adheres to the PHIN messages terminology, transport and security standards.
'We are very excited by these opportunities to see data that previously we have not been able to see,' Steele said.

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