PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance, Release 1.9 – International Society for Disease Surveillance


A revised version of the PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance (Guide), Release 1.9, is now available. Developed through a collaborative effort between ISDS and the Division of Informatics Solutions and Operations, PHISIPO, OSELS of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new Guide provides messaging specifications for communicating syndromic surveillance data from hospitals and urgent care settings to public health authorities (PHAs).  The PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance: Emergency Department, Urgent Care And Inpatient Settings, Release 1.9 provides direction to PHAs looking to implement syndromic surveillance systems. Prior versions of the Guide have been used to create certification standards for Meaningful Use. Release 1.9 looks beyond the 2014 Meaningful Use certification and creates specifications not only for Urgent Care and Emergency Department settings, but also for hospital inpatient settings. The inpatient specifications in particular result from an effort to incorporate guidelines from the 2012 ISDS Meaningful Use Workgroup for inpatient hospital settings.

The updated PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance provides clearer and more complete instructions for communicating syndromic surveillance data from hospitals and urgent care settings to public health departments. As a result, it will be a vital tool to both EHR vendors and public health authorities. EHR vendors will use Release 1.9 in developing EHR technologies compatible with future syndromic surveillance requirements. Prior Release 1.1 set standards for 2014 Meaningful Use EHR certification; this Guide anticipates certification guidelines for beyond 2014. PHAs will use the Release 1.9 to develop local implementations of syndromic surveillance and to meet their evolving needs as Meaningful Use progresses and more PHAs incorporate inpatient data into their syndromic surveillance systems.

Specifics on Release 1.9

Release 1.9 provides HL7 versions 2.5.1 and 2.3.1 messaging specifications for hospitals (both emergency department and inpatient) and urgent care centers providing clinical data to a PHA for syndromic surveillance. It also provides specific implementation notes that can be used for guidance by jurisdictions establishing or updating their syndromic surveillance systems. Finally, Release 1.9 includes updated interaction diagrams and business rules to make it applicable for jurisdictions wishing to receive laboratory data; specifications for lab data will be incorporated into future versions of the Messaging Guide.

On the other hand, Release 1.9 does not aim to provide guidelines for sending ambulatory data for syndromic surveillance; only urgent care settings fall within the scope of the guidance, not ambulatory settings in general. Additionally, Release 1.9 is not a fully complete update. As noted above, specifications for the laboratory information will be updated in the future to meet the increasing desire of PHAs to receive and use laboratory data in syndromic surveillance.

To view Release 1.9 of the PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance please visit the CDC PHIN Guide website. 

To view Frequently Asked Questions on Release 1.9, please see the Release 1.9 FAQ.

To view details of the requirements and applicable settings (e.g., ED/UC only, inpatient only, or all three settings) for the Data Elements of Interest, please see the Release 1.9 Data Element Crosswalk.

Feedback and Questions

If you have any feedback on Release 1.9 you can submit it through this comment form. To see already reported issues and concerns, please check out our Issue Report spreadsheet (last updated 11/15/2013).