Skip to main content
Skip to page content

Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > Your Dept of Health > Offices and Bureaus > Epidemiology > Syndromic surveillance

Syndromic Surveillance

Overview

Syndromic surveillance is a public health practice in which de-identified, pre-diagnostic data are collected and analyzed in a timely manner to detect outbreaks and promote situational awareness.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health utilizes a proprietary syndromic surveillance system called EpiCenter™ and also submits data to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program.  Pennsylvania’s program primarily collects chief complaint and basic demographic data from visits to over 85% of hospital emergency departments in the state.  Data are sent automatically from the hospitals’ Electronic Health Record systems to EpiCenter™, where they are analyzed for patterns in specific symptoms or symptom groups to identify changes and trends that may have public health significance.  Results are distributed to and reviewed by the state health department and county and municipal health departments.  Syndromic surveillance is useful in monitoring the progress of influenza, the onset of norovirus season, weather and accident-related hospital visits, emergency department visits associated with mass gatherings, and providing early warning of possible outbreaks.
 
Meaningful Use
Submission of syndromic surveillance data is a Public Health menu option for eligible providers, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals.  However, at present, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has no funding to onboard additional hospitals or providers to our syndromic surveillance system.  Please see the Meaningful Use Public Health Reporting Declaration of Readiness for more information.  Hospitals that are interested in registering their intent to submit syndromic data may do so using the Pennsylvania Syndromic Surveillance Registration of Intent Form.  Visit CMS.gov for more information about the Meaningful Use incentive program.