Recently our informatics staff in the Office of Infectious Disease Services partnered with hospital IT staff to add two more hospitals to BioSense, the national syndromic surveillance system. We now have 26 hospitals sharing information about all their emergency department visits, including the chief complaint, diagnoses, and patient demographics.
We use BioSense to understand what hospitals are seeing for syndromes like influenza-like illness and to help find cases of emerging arboviral diseases such as dengue and chikungunya. A statewide group of public health professionals is creating a method to use syndromic surveillance data to monitor and understand visits to the hospital for illnesses related to the hot temperatures we see here in Arizona. As the system continues to grow, we are excited to see how our department and our public health partners can use this information to improve the health of Arizonans.