Syndromic Surveillance and Reportable Labs in Meaningful Use

Syndromic Surveillance and Reportable Labs in Meaningful Use

Stage 2 of Meaningful Use requires caregivers to send syndromic surveillance and reportable labs results to their state’s department of public health. These two components are often referred to as the public health objectives of Meaningful Use. But what, exactly, are syndromic surveillance and reportable labs and what will the results be used for?

According to the ONC, eligible hospitals must submit syndromic surveillance, electronic lab results, and immunization data to public health agencies in Stage 2 – all three of those items were optional menu items in Stage 1. Eligible providers, on the other hand, must report immunization data and can chose to also submit syndromic surveillance, cancer registries, and specialized registries in Stage 2.

For labs, the required transmission of reportable conditions to the state’s public health department is nothing new, but the use of a certified EHR to transmit the data is new.

What does this mean in HL7 terminology?

Here’s what we discovered after asking customers who have attested for Stage 2.

  • Syndromic surveillance – ADT messages from the emergency department
  • Reportable labs – ORU messages for specific diseases, such as this list from the State of California.

The customer theorized that both sets of information are being used to identify trends in diseases, but with different approaches, ER visits (syndromic ADT) vs. specific disease results (lab ORU).

Hopefully this information helps as you continue to work through the interoperability challenges of Stage 2.