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Syndromic Surveillance -S.C. DHEC Syndromic Surveillance Meaningful Use

Electronic Submission

Included in the strategies for demonstrating meaningful use of the EHR systems is the submission of electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies.

Syndromic surveillance is a strategy used by public health for early event detection and monitoring health trends of the community. It uses pre-diagnostic information such as “chief complaints” from people seeking acute care to identify patterns of illness.

In South Carolina, syndromic surveillance is used to monitor disease trends such as influenza-like illness along with a broad spectrum of other syndromes to help identify possible outbreaks and other issues of public health concern in the community.

Data is transmitted to DHEC from participating facilities on a daily basis. It is generally sent after midnight and contains brief information on each patient visit from the preceding days. The information is grouped into syndromes, and statistical algorithms are applied to identify unusual temporal and geographic patterns that might indicate situations of public health concern.

Patient-identifying information in the transmissions is limited. Technical and administrative measures at DHEC ensure the security of the data and protect the confidentiality of the information that is submitted.

Syndromic surveillance messages are requested from:

  • Hospitals for all emergency room visits
  • Hospitals for all admissions
  • Urgent care centers for all visits.

Data submission and analysis is coordinated at the state health department. A daily report is automatically generated and sent to the reporting facility based on their submitted data. This report includes tables and graphs organized by syndrome. Facilities may be contacted for additional information by the state health department if a review of the data identities a trend that may indicate a situation of public health concern.

Sending information to DHEC electronically does not by itself satisfy the meaningful use criteria. The information must be sent in specific formats that have been developed to send health-related information between health care information systems. Your messages should be validated using one of the following tools NIST Syndromic Surveillance Validation Tool or CDC's Message Quality Framework (MQF). See the links below for more details on the specifications.

Registration

There are several steps to complete the process. Download "Syndromic Surveillance Implementation Guide" for the detailed steps. Download "SC SS Questionnaire for Distribution" for the needed questionnaire.

For Stage 1 and Stage 2

Meaningful Use attestation of Syndromic Surveillance to S.C. DHEC the provider should then contact S.C. DHEC at muhelpdesk@dhec.sc.gov stating your facility name, address and contact information. In your email SUBJECT LINE please specify Syndromic Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use.

S.C. DHEC currently accepts SFTP transport for Stage 1 reporting and PHIN Health Information Network Messaging System (PHIN-MS) for Stage 2 reporting. DHEC will provide instructions and assistance for installing and configuring the SFTP and PHIN-MS. Once configured, the PHINMS encrypts the file and sends it to us via a https (secure) connection automatically.

PLEASE NOTE: Currently S.C. DHEC is NOT able to accept Stage 2 MU data submissions in production mode for Syndromic Surveillance. We anticipate having this ability by the end of December 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: Currently S.C. DHEC is NOT able to accept Stage 2 MU data submissions in production mode for Syndromic Surveillance. We anticipate having this ability by the end of December 2013.