2014 Swap Meet – International Society for Disease Surveillance


The ISDS Swap Meet is an exciting opportunity for ISDS pre-conference and conference attendees to walk around to tables and informally discuss particular topics or systems with system developers, system users, and experts.

ISDS Global Outreach Committee

Vivek Singh, Public Health Foundation of India

The Global Outreach Committee aims to build a global network of professionals working in disease surveillance. It provides a forum for promoting international collaboration and support for disease surveillance in both developed and resource-poor settings. We are interested in establishing a cadre of leaders in public health surveillance across the globe through a new Champions for Surveillance Program. The Champions Program will provide opportunities for surveillance professionals throughout the globe to serve as points of contact for other surveillance professionals in their region. They will be engaged in building and sustaining local professional networks and in disseminating resources and best practices. The goal is to ensure that ISDS’s global capacity building activities are aligned with the priority needs and concerns of surveillance practitioners in different regions.

ISDS Research Committee

Judy Akkina, USDA, APHIS, VS

The ISDS Research Committee promotes research in advanced disease surveillance through multiple activities, such as topical webinars, literature reviews, yearly awards for outstanding research article in biosurveillance and outstanding student abstract, and an internship clearinghouse.

Public Health Community Platform

Marcus Rennick, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) 

The Public Health Community Platform (PHCP) is envisioned to provide a shared space that strengthens collaboration among public health jurisdictions and partners. The PHCP is coordinated by ASTHO, with support from the CDC, and directed by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the public health community. The goal of the PCHP is to provide a shared infrastructure for state and local jurisdictions enabling the development of interoperable systems and distributed analytic methods with common sources of data. 

Praedico by Bitscopic

Payam Etminani, Bitscopic Inc. 

Praedico is a next generation, big data based, biosurveillance tool developed by Bitscopic, a Silicon Valley startup, currently customized for the Department of Veterans Affairs. We will be demonstrating and discussing some of the features of Praedico and how it can be used for your needs. 

CDC BioSense

Richard Jones II, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

Overview materials for the BioSense program and the National Syndromic Surveillance Community of Practice. 

National Poison Data System

Royal Law, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

Every 24 minutes, 55 regional poison centers upload data collected from calls made to their organizations to the national poison center reporting database known as the National Poison Data System or NPDS. The National Poison Data System is owned and operated by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). Since 2001, DCD and AAPCC have developed methods to use NPDS data for near, real-time surveillance of exposures to hazardous substances of potential public health significance. CDC used NPDS to: 

  1. Improve national surveillance for chemical, environmental, drug, food-borne, biological and radiological exposures and illness of potential public health significance
  2. Identify early markers of chemical, environmental, drug, food-borne, biological and radiological events in order to provide an effective and rapid public health response
  3. Identify and track exposures and cases of illness during an emerging or known public health threat

Many state and jurisdictions utilize poison center data as part of their syndromic surveillance, either through direct upload of poison center data to local systems or though NPDS. The CDC National Center for Environmental Health has worked to enhance surveillance capabilities within NPDS that may be of interest to local, state, and international public health organizations. Conversely, members of the NPDS surveillance team would like to discuss the different aspects of surveillance most important to different public health entities to inform how to best translate poison center data surveillance to public health action. 

Project SHINE Training Opportunities

Meredith Lichtenstein, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII), have developed project SHINE to strengthen health systems through interprofessional education. 
SHINE will illuminate pathways for professionals, organizations, and communities to achieve a collective, transformative, and sustainable impact on population health. This will be achieved through a set of fellowship programs, including but not limited to the Applied Public Health Informatics Fellowship (APHIF) and the Informatics Training in Place Program (I-TIPP). 

Biosurveillance Ecosystem (BSVE) 

Christopher Kiley, Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) 

The Biosurveillance Ecosystem (BSVE) consists of a virtual Analyst Workbench that contains a novel collection of aggregated health and non- health data streams with customizable applications (“Apps”) to analyze and visualize the data. 

The overall goal/mission of the BSVE is to provide a cloud based, user-customizable environment that is adaptable to changing technology, facilities virtual information sharing, and above all, provides real-time biosurveilance and result analysis that moves toward forecasting “One Health” disease outbreaks. 

Mapping and Biosurveillance: Using ArcGIS

Natalie Jung, ESRI Inc. 

At this table, you will be able to learn more about how GIS is applicable to Public Health and more specifically disease surveillance. Find out what is new with ESRI products and how it can benefit work flows and decision making. 


Todd Stout, FirstWatch Solutions, Inc. 

FirstWatch is a secure, situational awareness, data surveillance and automated alerting system that monitors existing data systems for statistically significant occurrences in user-defined criteria – from a Public Health Standpoint. When trends, patterns or geographic clusters are detected, FirstWatch automatically alerts authorized personnel via email, pager, SMS or fax. FirstWatch interfaces with: Public Safety 9-1-1 (EMS & Fire) CAD, ProQA, Paramedic Field (ePCR) data, and Hospital ED/ER as well as Poison Center systems. FirstWatch can aggregate data from multiple agencies with disparate (or similar data sources) to provide a true real-time, regionalized perspective across geographical boundaries all on your mobile device. www.firstwatch.net

Triple-S Project: Guidelines for implementing a syndromic surveillance system

Anne Fouillet, French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (inVIS) 

Based on inventories of European Syndromic Surveillance (SyS) Systems, eight country visits and experts advice, the European project Triple-S (Syndromic Surveillance Survey, Assessment towards Guidelines for Europe) has developed guidelines that aim to provide scientific and technical guidance for the development and implementation of SyS systems for both human and animal health. The guidelines are organized to follow the order of the steps necessary for implementing the SyS system:

  1. Get organized
  2. How to collect and prepare the data
  3. How to analyse the data
  4. How to disseminate the findings to support public health action according to the different stakeholders
  5. How to evaluate the system

This document is completed by other guidelines helping countries to choose the most suitable data source in terms of their objectives and available resources. The guidelines have been written to be a practical and user-friendly document and are intended for public-health professionals and epidemiologists who do human or animal-health surveillance as part of their work and want to develop or improve SyS systems. 
The objective of the Swap Meet table is to share with the conference registrants the main aspects included in each section of the guidelines and to provide illustrations, checklists, and recommendations for implementing or improving their own system. 

The IMS Electronic Healthcare Data Warehouse

Silvia Valkova, IMS Health

IMS Health consolidates standardized electronic reimbursement claims from a very large proportion of office-based providers, pharmacies, and hospitals throughout the U.S. These data are timely, representative, granular, and represent a patient-centric view of diseases and conditions diagnosed, procedures performed, and drugs prescribed in the U.S. We are interested in feedback from the public health community on how such data can help supplement and create new public health syndromic and other surveillance systems. We will demonstrate and describe the history, coverage, granularity, and scalability of various healthcare claims data sets and demonstrate public health use cases. 

SAGES Suite for Global Electronic BioSurveillance

Sheri Lewis, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU-APL) 

SAGES is a suite of freely available, open source software tools designed for disease surveillance in resource limited settings. The objective for the ISDS Swap Meet is to inform visitors of the features and benefits of SAGES tools and show a demo of the SAGES system.


Wayne Loschen, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU-APL) 

The ESSENCE swap meet table will provide demonstrations and answer questions regarding the ESSENCE system. It will provide participants the ability to get hands on experience with a disease surveillance systems used in numerous jurisdictions as well as ask developers of the system questions about disease surveillance systems in general.

Formation of Surveillance-Based User Group for R Language

Howard Burkom, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU-APL)

In the disease surveillance community, the R language is increasingly used for developing and sharing code for data acquisition, cleaning, filtering, and analysis. More packages are becoming available for immediate use. The purpose of this table is to gather interest for a sustained working group sharing problems and methods in R and to discuss the appropriate scope of such a group.

Social Medical Analysis and Research Testbed (SMART) Demo

Michael Peddecord, San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health

To better track, visualize, subset and evaluate events on Twitter, we developed the online Social Media Analysis and Research Testbed using Python®, JavaScript®, and the Node.js® platform. The dashboard is currently configured to track 5 topics of interest. Public health items currently include influenza and pertussis. Components of the dashboard include: expandable timeline tracking displaying raw and filtered tweets with past year comparison, top rated re-tweets; top rated websites mentioned in tweets; mapping of tweet rates from up to 30 of the largest U.S. cities; top hash tags, a word cloud with word count bar graph, display of top images and videos being tweeted. For in-depth review, tweet subsets can be downloaded and displayed from dashboard components (eg. by day, week, month, location, or containing specific key words or hashtags) . Website: http://vision.sdsu.edu/hdma/smart/

ICD-10-CM Transition Planning

David Swenson, State of NH, Division of Public Health Services

The transition of all HIPAA covered entities from the use of International Classification of Diseases version 9 (ICD­9­CM) to version 10 (ICD­10­CM/PCS) on October 15, 2015 will create a paradigm change in the use of electronic health record (EHR) data. Many Public Health surveillance entities that receive, interpret, analyze, and report ICD­9 encoded data will be significantly impacted by the transition. Public health agencies need to modify existing database structures, extraction rules, and messaging guides, as well as revise established syndromic surveillance definitions and underlying analytic and business rules to accommodate this transition.

Joint Public Health Informatics Taskforce (JPHIT)

Amy Ising, UNC Chapel Hill, ISDS, JPHIT 

JPHIT is a collaboration of public health associations committed to improving population health through informatics, health IT and information exchange. As a consortium of membership associations, JPHIT is unique within the field of public health. Created in 2008, JPHIT provides a forum that enables coordinated and collaborative development and implementation of public health informatics priorities, a unified voice on national informatics policy issues, and a focus on improving performance of the public health system through informatics. Since its creation, JPHIT has created and communicated unified positions on issues such as proposed Meaningful Use requirements, public health representatives on national health IT advisory committees, the organization of informatics within CDC, and other issues.

Outbreak Investigator: Visualization tools for infectious disease for outbreak management

Neil Abernethy, Association of Professional Biomedical Informatics

We demonstrate the Outbreak Investigator tool, a web-based, interactive query and visualization platform which integrates information from distributed contact investigations for analysis and communication. This tool enables simultaneous comparison of social contacts, geographic distribution of cases, epidemic curves, and other critical visualization features. We use a flexible event model to provide linked displays and support multiple layout algorithms and displays. These tools have utility for managing a broad class of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, pertussis, and Ebola. The tool can be connected to a variety of public health data sources such as local or state case management systems. We are piloting these tools with Public Health Seattle & King County.