Surveillance of Surveillance: Inventorying Gaps and Commonalities Across the Universe of Surveillance Systems

Catherine Ordun


Multiple reports from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) from 2009 and 2011, and a recent April 2013 report from the HHS Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR), identified significant problems across health surveillance systems, limiting their effective use across health agencies. Findings indicate that duplication in biosurveillance activities leads to similar or identical analyses and consequently inefficient use of limited resources. To address this problem, we inventoried surveillance systems, programs, and initiatives to identify key analytics, data source, statistical, and system architecture gaps and commonalities. Published surveillance review articles and independent analysis enabled a preliminary inventory of 236 systems; we provide pilot analysis of 30 systems for an initial understanding of gaps and commonalities.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *