Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE): Overview, Components, and Public Health Applications   [open pdf - 802KB]

From the Introduction: "In recent decades, public health disease surveillance relied on laboratory confirmation and passive participation. Often, the lack of automated detection and reporting resulted in time delays that impeded prompt mitigation activities. Public health institutions thus began using enhanced surveillance techniques with the potential for timely epidemic detection and tracking. These techniques have been incorporated in electronic and increasingly internet-based health surveillance systems for everyday use by health monitors. Intensive efforts to establish health surveillance systems occurred at multiple institutions and government agencies in the late 1990s. As a result, a substantial collection of review papers, system-specific evaluations, and evaluation criteria have emerged [...]. The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics (ESSENCE) system originated as a collaboration between two such projects. A project of Dr Michael Lewis, then a medical resident under Dr Julie Pavlin at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research (WRAIR), applied US military clinic visit data for outbreak detection in a project called ESSENCE [...]. Concurrently, for the same purpose, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) combined civilian data from hospital emergency departments (EDs), physician office visits, over-the-counter (OTC) sales, and school absenteeism records, first with internal funding, then for the State of Maryland [...]. The two groups joined forces in anticipation of possible bioterrorist activity at the turn of the century as January 1, 2000, approached, and this collaboration, along with similar efforts at other institutions, led to further funded development in the multicenter Bio-Event Advanced Leading Indicator Recognition Technology (BioALIRT) program of 2001-2003 for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency [...]. In leading one of four BioALIRT research teams, the JHU/APL and WRAIR groups further matured the ESSENCE system concept."

2021 Howard Burkom, Wayne Loschen, Richard Wojcik, Rekha Holtry, Monika Punjabi, Martina Siwek, Sheri Lewis. Posted here with permission. Document is under a Creative Commons license and requires proper attribution and noncommercial use to be shared: [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/].
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JMIR Public Health Surveillance (June 21, 2021), v.7 issue 6
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