Last week, CMS released the requirements for Stage 2 Meaningful Use. As expected, they build upon Stage 1 requirements by making many of the “optional” Stage 1 requirements mandatory. Perhaps the most significant change in requirements is that the reporting of Syndromic Surveillance data is mandatory in Stage 2 for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals.
With so much talk focused on Syndromic Surveillance, the overall picture of Community Health Surveillance seems to be getting lost.
Until the Meaningful Use guidelines were developed, the term “Syndromic Surveillance” wasn’t typically utilized. Its connotation is less community-centered and more focused on single issues.
When a foodborne outbreak was suspected in New Jersey last week, Health Monitoring Systems’ EpiCenter Syndromic Surveillance system helped public health officials in the state to further investigate the outbreak’s cause and point of origin.
Three cases of foodborne illness were reported at a major medical center emergency room, leading the Middlesex County Health Department Epidemiologist to contact other local hospitals to see if similar symptoms were reported in their ERs. After running a report through EpiCenter, it was discovered that two other hospitals had admitted patients complaining of the same symptoms.