1. Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWCN

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As in subsequent columns, we are continuing to review the objectives and measures for Modified Stage 2 Meaningful Use (MU) set forth from 2015 through 2017. In this column, you will find information detailing Objective 10: Public Health Reporting Measure Option 2-Syndromic Surveillance Reporting.


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provided a definition of syndromic surveillance (FAQ 3615)1 reporting as "Syndromic surveillance uses individual and population health indicators that are available before confirmed diagnoses or laboratory confirmation to identify outbreaks or health events and monitor the health status of a community." The CMS refers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further explanation of syndromic surveillance2:


"Public health syndromic surveillance using inpatient and ambulatory clinical care electronic health record (EHR) data is a relatively new practice. As eligible health professionals and hospitals adopt, implement, and upgrade their EHR systems through the CMS EHR Incentive Programs (MU programs), there is an opportunity for public health agencies to routinely receive health data from settings other than emergency departments and urgent care centers. Given the number of factors and complex relationships that affect EHR data quality, a collaborative approach that includes public health, healthcare, and EHR technology developers is the best way to determine how EHR data can be meaningfully used for surveillance.

Table. OBJECTIVES AN... - Click to enlarge in new windowTable. OBJECTIVES AND MEASURES FOR 2015 THROUGH 2017 (MODIFIED STAGE 2)

In November 2012, the International Society for Disease Surveillance (ISDS) released Electronic Syndromic Surveillance Using Hospital Inpatient and Ambulatory Clinical Care EHR Data: Recommendations from the ISDS MU Workgroup. These recommendations are the product of an ISDS-convened MU Workgroup that used their various stakeholder perspectives and expertise in public health practice and medical informatics to guide the document's development. With the facilitation of ISDS staff, the CDC, and HLN Consulting, the MU Workgroup used an iterative development process, soliciting stakeholder feedback at project initiation and twice while recommendations were developed. The workgroup used both stakeholder input and its own expertise to draft recommendations that balance current feasibility and resource concerns with community enthusiasm for surveillance innovation with these clinical data.


The finalized Recommendations provide clarity for Stage 2 MU, when ongoing syndromic surveillance reporting will be required for eligible hospitals. They also provide a basis for planning and establishing data use relationships between public health agencies and eligible professionals or hospitals while building upon prior ISDS work by incorporating both lessons learned and broader stakeholder participation. In addition, the recommendations suggest Stage 3 of MU rules for the syndromic surveillance objective and future EHR certification criteria."


Lastly, there are different options for reporting each select measure, and the eligible professional should research his/her Public Health Reporting Options from the state in which they are attesting.




1. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Frequently asked questions. Last accessed April 25, 2016. [Context Link]


2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meaningful Use. Last accessed April 25, 2016. [Context Link]


3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. EHR Incentive Programs: 2015 through 2017 (Modified Stage 2) Overview. Last accessed April 25, 2016. [Context Link]