Better, Stronger, Faster: Making the Case for Adding Data Fields to Syndromic Surveillance, NJ 2015


NJDOH created a custom classification in EpiCenter to detect synthetic cannabinoid-related ED visits using chief complaint data. DOH staff included the keywords black magic, black mamba, cloud 9, cloud 10,incense, k2, legal high, pot potpourri, spice, synthetic marijuana, voodoo doll, wicked x, and zombie which were obtained from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Staff also included the keywords, agitation, k-2, moon rocks, seizure, skunk, and yucatan to characterize the related event.

EpiCenter did not have a custom classification for NJ synthetic cannabinoid-related ED visits before NJPIES' inquiry. NJDOH staff successfully created a custom classification by using chief complaint data to review NJPIES call data.

Review of NJPIES synthetic cannabinoid calls suggests that triage notes in syndromic surveillance system included more specific keywords than the chief complaints and captured most of the calls related to synthetic cannabinoid. Triage notes inclusion has been initiated in New Jersey. This new data source will provide vital information to syndromic surveillance, which is expected to lead to earlier detection and response to health events like Ebola surveillance.

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July, 2016

September 25, 2017

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