Syndromic surveillance in Ottawa: Implementation and experiences from a municipal public health viewpoint

Date: February 16th 2011 from 12pm to 1pm EST

Abstract: This webinar will provide a brief overview of syndromic surveillance and discuss the implementation of the Advanced Syndromic Surveillance and Emergency Triage (ASSET) system in Ottawa. The discussion will include infrastructure and notification mechanisms, development of response protocols, challenges with interpretation, and the integration of modelling provided by syndromic surveillance into public health practice. Case examples will be used to illustrate the nature of the public health response, challenges to interpretation, and the development of appropriate response protocols.

The ASSET project began in 2008 and involved a variety of partners. The system is based on the RODS Open Source Project and currently utilizes ER data from 4 Ottawa area hospitals to generate syndromic surveillance alerts on nine pre-defined syndromes. These alerts notify Ottawa Public Health epidemiologists of greater than expected counts of ER visits attributed to the syndromes. Final diagnosis and triage acuity is available from some hospitals. Analysis and reporting of the alerts is conducted, for the most part, using an off-the-shelf statistical package.

Speaker:  Cameron McDermaid, Ottawa Public Health

Biography:  Cameron McDermaid is an epidemiologist with Ottawa Public Health with an interest in syndromic surveillance, environmental health, and social determinants of health.

Download the slides here.