Syndromic Surveillance for Meaningful Use: 2010 Recommendation – International Society for Disease Surveillance


In 2010 the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worked together to develop guidance for the Meaningful Use objective that relates to syndromic surveillance.  ISDS used a consensus-driven process to develop its recommendations that were provided to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC) in January 2010. 

Preliminary and provisional versions of the recommendations were made available to stakeholders for review and comment. ISDS welcomed input to ensure that the recommendations accurately reflected the current practices and fulfilled requisite business needs.

Final Product:

 Final Recommendation: Core Processes and EHR Requirements for Public Health Syndromic Surveillance (January 31, 2011)

Project Background

ISDS strongly supports the inclusion of a syndromic surveillance objective in the final Stage 1 meaningful use rule for EHR certification. Furthermore, ISDS supports the continued inclusion of this objective in future meaningful use stages.  ISDS membership is highly invested to the success of Stage 1, because success is essential to making the most of the CMS EHR Reimbursement Program and the tremendous opportunity it creates.

In the absence of standards for the public health syndromic surveillance (PHSS) meaningful use objective, ISDS convened a workgroup of public health surveillance experts to recommend guidelines.  Specifically, this Meaningful Use Workgroup (MU Workgroup) was chartered with developing a contemporary business process model for PHSS and defining a core set of EHR requirements that support contemporary syndromic surveillance practice. 

The recommended guidelines:

1.         Define PHSS by describing core business processes, inputs and critical task sets to guide information system and data exchange solution design

2.         Define a PHSS message by specifying subset of core EHR data elements and requirements

ISDS used a three-stage, consensus-driven process to develop this document.  Input from the MU workgroup was the basis for early document iterations.  Meaningful use stakeholders, coordinated through the Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce (JPHIT), provided further input by commenting upon this version of the document (i.e., Provisional Recommendation). 

As ISDS developed its recommendations, a concurrent effort lead by CDC to develop a draft HL7 2.3.1 and 2.5.1 Messaging Guide was also underway.  There were also opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the development of the messaging guide. 

Meaningful Use Workgroup

A workgroup of stakeholders from various backgrounds and disciplines were convened to provide input on the development of these recommendations and to serve as representatives of their respective stakeholder group.

View Workgroup Members


The BioSense Program of the CDC Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services is providing funding to support these activities.


Contact Charlie Ishikawa at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it