TITLE

Timeliness of Data Sources Used for Influenza Surveillance

AUTHOR(S)
Dailey, Lynne; Watkins, Rochelle E.; Plant, Aileen J.
PUB. DATE
September 2007
SOURCE
Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association;Sep/Oct2007, Vol. 14 Issue 5, p626
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Objective: In recent years, influenza surveillance data has expanded to include alternative sources such as emergency department data, absenteeism reports, pharmaceutical sales, website access and health advice calls. This study presents a review of alternative data sources for influenza surveillance, summarizes the time advantage or timeliness of each source relative to traditional reporting and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of competing approaches. Methods: A literature search was conducted on Medline to identify relevant articles published after 1990. A total of 15 articles were obtained that reported the timeliness of an influenza surveillance system. Timeliness was described by peak comparison, aberration detection comparison and correlation. Results: Overall, the data sources were highly correlated with traditional sources and had variable timeliness. Over-the-counter pharmaceutical sales, emergency visits, absenteeism and health calls appear to be more timely than physician diagnoses, sentinel influenza-like-illness surveillance and virological confirmation. Conclusions: The methods used to describe timeliness vary greatly between studies and hence no strong conclusions regarding the most timely source/s of data can be reached. Future studies should apply the aberration detection method to determine data source timeliness in preference to the peak comparison method and correlation.
ACCESSION #
26964140

 

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