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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Syndromic Surveillance Patch

One of the positive outcomes of the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009-10 was a rapid, proactive response by IHS to monitor influenza-like illness (ILI) and influenza vaccinations throughout Indian Country. The RPMS Program Management Office in OIT and the Office of Public Health Support’s Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention (DEDP) partnered to develop an RPMS patch that accumulates targeted ILI and influenza vaccination data at the local site and securely exports the information daily to DEDP. Because DEDP is recognized as a public health agency by CMS, local sites are able to meet MU Stage 1 and Stage 2 requirements for syndromic surveillance simply by using this patch and providing daily export files to DEDP.

What’s New in MU Stage 2

Although the Stage 2 requirements for syndromic surveillance have increased from Stage 1, the impact on local sites continues to be minimal as long as the RPMS patch is installed and implemented. A new version of the patch, APCL v3 Patch 29, is expected to roll out later this summer and will incorporate all of the requirements necessary for facilities to meet both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 measures for syndromic surveillance.

Reports and Documentation

Another positive outcome of the pandemic has been that DEDP consolidates and aggregates the ILI and influenza vaccination data into reports. These reports provide national and IHS area overviews and comparisons for ILI trends since the pandemic; weekly percentages of ILI visits by IHS area; influenza vaccine coverage by age and high-risk groups (such as asthma and diabetes); and counts of the specific influenza vaccines administered. This information has been used by national program administrators as well as IHS areas, service units, and facilities to monitor ILI and influenza vaccine coverage on a weekly basis.

Individuals interested in viewing reports created from the daily export files can look through the weekly list at IHS Influenza Surveillance Reports. More detailed reports for a specific area, service unit, or facility can be obtained by contacting the appropriate area representative. In addition, a new report distribution method that uses a web browser is about to be implemented. This process will allow individuals to obtain reports directly and will inform area representatives when reports are available.

Non-RPMS sites, such as NextGen and CERNER sites, can also take advantage of this system by using the documentation available for the patch as a guideline for creating NextGen and CERNER patches. Although news about patch documentation for non-RPMS sites has been fairly informal in the past, documentation for Patch 29 will be posted under Guidance Documents on the Facility Data Exports & Reports web page.

Email any questions about creating a non-RPMS patch to HQ_OPHS_Disease_Surveillance@ihs.gov

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