When an ice storm hit Austin, Texas, in February 2011, Judy Henry decided it was time to provide real-time public health data to officials in the EOC.
At a recent conference, Henry, an epidemiologist with the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, had heard about Florida’s use of keywords in hospital emergency department (ED) reports. They were used to estimate the impacts of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti through Florida’s syndromic surveillance system, which collects data from various sources to detect disease trends by condition occurrence not just confirmed cases.
For visits to emergency departments by people in Haiti on or after the earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, Florida added the word “Haiti” to the patient’s list of chief complaints. “I thought that was simple, elegant and on target,” Henry said.
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