Bioterrorism and Health System Preparedness: The Role of Information Technology and Surveillance Systems in Bioterrorism Readiness [open pdf - 139KB]
The following issue brief on early detection of disease outbreaks was published by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "While traditional disease surveillance relies on often time-consuming laboratory diagnosis, a new breed of syndromic surveillance systems has the potential to significantly speed up detection of disease outbreaks. In a time of increasing concern over bioterrorist activity, early response to disease outbreaks is a key public health priority and an emerging field of research. Early knowledge of a disease outbreak can improve response time and health outcomes. Recent public health emergencies such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak and the outbreak of monkeypox in the Midwestern United States in the summer of 2003 highlight the important role that early detection plays in mobilizing rapid response. While traditional disease surveillance relies on often time-consuming laboratory diagnosis, a new breed of syndromic surveillance systems has the potential to significantly speed up detection of disease outbreaks. These new, computer-based surveillance systems offer valuable and timely information to hospitals as well as to State, local, and Federal health officials. This Issue Brief describes syndromic monitoring systems and how they are used to track trends within patient populations and to establish early warning of disease outbreaks, including potential bioterrorist activity."
Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality: http://www.ahrq.gov/
Bioterrorism and Health System Preparedness (March 2005), Issue Brief No. 5