Syndromic Surveillance & Meaningful Use 

Figure 1 Syndromic Surveillance in the Colorado North Central Region

National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) in the Colorado Local Counties

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) promotes and advances development of a syndromic surveillance (SyS) system for the timely exchange of syndromic surveillance data. SyS data is used to improve situational awareness and enhance responsiveness to hazardous events and disease outbreaks to protect community’s health, safety, and security. Mandated in the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the NSSP was launched in 2003 to establish an integrated national public health surveillance system for early detection and rapid assessment of potential bioterrorism-related illness. NSSP includes collaboration among local, state and federal public health partners (including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); other federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; hospitals and health professionals; and other key stakeholders.

In 2016, the Electronic Syndromic System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE), developed by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) became the NSSP’s primary syndromic surveillance tool. NSSP’s version of ESSENCE allows epidemiologists to collaborate with others across geopolitical boundaries to share data which provides a broader surveillance view.

The key values of the NSSP:

  • Enhancing health monitoring infrastructure and workforce capacity at the state, local and territorial levels
  • Expanding the utility of NSSP data to use in all-hazards incidents and to contribute information for public health situational awareness, routine public health practice and improved health outcomes
  • Improving the ability to detect emergency health-related threats by supporting the enhancement of systems to signal alerts for potential problems and improving the ability to understand the severity of health issues
  • Increasing local and state jurisdictions participation in NSSP

Colorado Syndromic Surveillance Partnership Enhances Public Health Response

Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) and Denver Public Health (DPH) co-jointly began participating in the NSSP in 2013 collecting the timely syndromic surveillance data for situational awareness and enhanced response to hazardous events and disease outbreaks. In the summer of 2016, the NSSP effort expanded to include Boulder County Public Health and Jefferson County Public Health.  In late 2019, TCHD partnered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to support and expand the local Colorado Syndromic Surveillance (SyS) footprint. Ongoing expansion efforts include Broomfield Health and Human Services, Larimer County Public Health, El Paso County Public Health, Mesa County Public Health, Pueblo County Public Health, Montezuma County Public Health Department La Plata County and San Juan Basin Public Health.  The syndromic surveillance partnership in Colorado includes public health agencies and facilities (hospitals, freestanding Emergency Departments (ED), and urgent cares) from local jurisdictions along with close coordination with CDPHE.

Meaningful Use

To view informational webinars on Meaningful Use and Public Health, click here.

Meaningful Use Declaration (PDF): Click for information on Tri-County Health Department’s Declaration of Readiness to Receive Syndromic Surveillance Data for Hospitals in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.