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May 6 -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invites comment by July 5, 2022 on a proposed information collection project titled the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). The NSSP promotes and advances development of a syndromic surveillance system for the timely exchange of syndromic data.

Syndromic surveillance uses syndromic data and statistical tools to detect, monitor, and characterize unusual activity for further public health investigation or response. Syndromic data include electronic extracts of electronic health records (EHRs) from patient encounter data from emergency departments, urgent care, ambulatory care, and inpatient healthcare settings, as well as laboratory data. Though these data are being captured for different purposes, they are monitored in near real-time as potential indicators of an event, a disease, or an outbreak of public health significance. On the national level, these data are used to improve nationwide situational awareness and enhance responsiveness to hazardous events and disease outbreaks to protect America's health, safety, and security.

The BioSense Program was created by congressional mandate as part of the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, and was launched by the CDC in 2003. The BioSense Program has since been expanded into the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) which promotes and advances development of a syndromic surveillance system for the timely exchange of syndromic data.

CDC requests a three-year approval for a Revision for NSSP (OMB Control No. 0920-0824, Exp. 7/31/2022). This Revision includes a request for approval to continue to receive onboarding data from state, local and territorial public health departments about healthcare facilities in their jurisdiction; registration data needed to allow users access to the BioSense Platform tools and services; and data sharing permissions so that state, local and territorial health departments can share data with other state, local and territorial health departments and CDC.

NSSP features the BioSense Platform and a collaborative Community of Practice. The BioSense Platform is a secure integrated electronic health information system that CDC provides, primarily for use by state, local and territorial public health departments. It includes standardized analytic tools and processes that enable users to rapidly collect, evaluate, share, and store syndromic surveillance data. NSSP promotes a Community of Practice in which participants collaborate to advance the science and practice of syndromic surveillance. Health departments use the BioSense Platform to receive healthcare data from facilities in their jurisdiction, conduct syndromic surveillance, and share the data with other jurisdictions and CDC.

The BioSense Platform provides the ability to analyze healthcare encounter data from EHRs, as well as laboratory data. All EHR and laboratory data reside in a cloud-enabled, web-based platform that has authorization to operate from CDC. The BioSense Platform sits in the secure, private Government Cloud which is simply used as a storage and processing mechanism, as opposed to on-site servers at CDC. This environment provides users with easily managed on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources such as networks, servers, software, tools, storage, and services, with limited need for additional IT support. Each site (i.e., state or local public health department) controls its data within the cloud and is provided with free secure data storage space with tools for posting, receiving, controlling and analyzing their data; an easy-to-use data display dashboard; and a shared environment where users can collaborate and advance public health surveillance practice. Each site is responsible for creating its own data use agreements with the facilities that are sending the data, retains ownership of any data it contributes to its exclusive secure space, and can share data with CDC or users from other sites.

NSSP has three different types of information collection:

(1) Collection of onboarding data about healthcare facilities needed for state, local, and territorial public health departments to submit EHR data to the BioSense Platform;
(2) Collection of registration data needed to allow users access to the BioSense Platform tools and services; and
(3) Collection of data sharing permissions so that state and local health departments can share data with other state and local health departments and CDC.

Healthcare data shared with CDC can include: EHR data received by state and local public health departments from facilities including hospital emergency departments and inpatient settings, urgent care, and ambulatory care; mortality data from state and local vital statistics offices; laboratory tests ordered and their results from a national private sector laboratory company; and EHR data from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs).

Respondents include state, local, and territorial public health departments.
 
NSSP website: https://www.cdc.gov/nssp/index.html
Draft NSSP proposal, including forms and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tr6bnc2svgjo39d/AAD-aO562vf5VJD3Pp6gtu5ia?dl=0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-09787

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