The Virginia Syndromic Surveillance Advisory Group (VSSAG) is a voluntary, multidisciplinary group formed to increase understanding and utilization of syndromic surveillance data among public health and healthcare partners in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) collects syndromic surveillance data from participating emergency departments and urgent care centers to identify emerging issues of public health concern and monitor the health of a community in near-real time. Analytic tools are used to rapidly identify unusual patterns among syndromic surveillance data that might indicate situations of concern using the reason for visit (chief complaint) or diagnosis. These data are also shared by VDH with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) and are available to approved users through the NSSP BioSense Platform. More information on how VDH uses syndromic surveillance data can be found on the VDH Syndromic Surveillance website.
To increase understanding and utilization among public health and healthcare partners of syndromic surveillance data for situational awareness of issues affecting public health and to inform their business practices.
- Convene at a minimum two (2) meetings annually to facilitate information sharing and collaboration among public health and healthcare partners.
- Maintain working group membership which will consist of public health, healthcare, and health data partners who could benefit from syndromic surveillance data sharing.
- Define best practices and methodologies for syndromic surveillance data sharing with public health and healthcare partners by VDH.
- Improve knowledge of syndromic surveillance among working group members through trainings and use cases.
- Provide access to syndromic surveillance data to appropriate working group members through the National Syndromic Surveillance Platform (NSSP) ESSENCE.
- Empower working group members to use syndromic surveillance data in their business practice as a situational awareness tool.
- Obtain feedback from working group members on the utility and ease of use of syndromic surveillance data and reports provided by VDH.
- Evaluate the success of increasing knowledge and use of syndromic surveillance data within the working group.