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Step 5: Achieve Meaningful Use Stage 1

Syndromic Surveillance Data Submission

Objective:

Capability to submit electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies and actual submission according to applicable law and practice.

Measure:

Performed at least one test of certified EHR technology's capacity to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies and follow-up submission if the test is successful (unless none of the public health agencies to which an eligible professional submits such information has the capacity to receive the information electronically).

Changes as of August 2012:

Beginning in 2013, all of the Stage 1 public health objectives (submitting data to an immunization registry, submitting data to a syndromic surveillance database, or submitting reportable lab results to a public health agency) will require that providers perform at least one test of their Certified EHR Technology’s capability to send data to public health agencies, except where prohibited. The intent of this modification is to encourage all EPs, eligible hospitals, and CAHs to submit public health data, even when not required by State/local law. Therefore, if providers are authorized to submit the data, they should do so even if it is not required by either law or practice. If the test of submission is successful, provider should institute regular reporting with the entity with whom the successful test was conducted.

Clinical Importance

Syndromic Surveillance Data Submission is used to improve population health by supporting timely and effective prevention and response. Electronic health data transactions and large public health databases can be used for epidemiological analyses and this surveillance information to public health decision makers for use in monitoring and mitigating public health threats. The use of near patient data and statistical tools enables public health authorities to provide timely assessments of population health that assist with determining and assessing the implementation of public health action. This is particularly useful for event detection, situation awareness, and response management. Your practices contribution to the syndromic surveillance database has a direct impact on public health at the national level.

CMS Resources

The following resource is available to help you meet the Syndromic Surveillance Data Submission meaningful use menu measure:

Related CMS Health Record">EHR Incentive Program Frequently Asked Questions

Lessons from the Field

"Understanding how both your vendor and state handle the submission of syndromic surveillance data and their processes is a key first step to successfully implementing this meaningful use requirement."

Barbara Tergis, RN, BSN, Office Manager, Family Practice, Hastings on Hudson, N.Y

The methods and processes used to submit public health information, such as syndromic surveillance data, differ across EHR vendors and states. To meet meaningful use requirements, each practice needs to work with its vendor as well as understand its respective state registry to determine how best to submit the required information. Some questions a practice might ask include:

  • Does my vendor require our practice to purchase a separate interface to submit this data?
  • Is the data submitted through a batch submission from the vendor or can it be submitted through a health information exchange (HIE)?
  • Does my state have an electronic immunization registry?
  • If so, does my EHR have the capability to submit immunization status electronically?
  • If not, what is my state's preferred methodology for submission of immunization status?

National Learning Consortium Resources

The NLC resources are examples of tools that are used in the field today, and that are recommended by “boots-on-the-ground” professionals. The NLC, in partnership with HealthIT.gov, shares this collective EHR implementation knowledge and resources throughout this site.

National Learning Consortium Resources
Resource NameDescriptionSource

Final Recommendation - Core Processes and EHR Requirements for Public Health Syndromic Surveillance

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Report that describes public health syndromic surveillance (PHSS) business processes and a core set of EHR requirements to support current syndromic surveillance practices – to provide a framework for system redesign.

International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS)

Sending Electronic Syndromic Surveillance Data to a Public Health Agency (HIE scenario, workflow, and specifications)

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[PDF - 787 kb]

A series of health information exchange (HIE) scenarios intended to provide a straightforward view into the standards, services and policies behind HIE solutions related to this Meaningful Use Measure.

ONC Office of Science and Technology

The material in these guides and tools represents the collective EHR implementation experiences and knowledge gained directly from the field of ONC’s outreach programs (REC, Beacon, State HIE) and through the Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC) Communities of Practice (CoPs) in their performance of technical support and EHR implementation assistance to primary care providers. The information contained in these resources is not intended to serve as legal advice nor should it substitute for legal counsel. The resource list is not exhaustive, and readers are encouraged to seek additional detailed technical guidance to supplement the information contained herein.

Reference in this web site to any specific resources, tools, products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Related CMS EHR Incentive Program Frequently Asked Questions

For additional questions around meaningful use, visit the CMS EHR Incentive Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).