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Syndromic surveillance systems are becoming increasingly common in health departments. These systems represent a substantial improvement in the timeliness of ascertainment of community health status.
For the value of such systems to be realized, protocols are needed for review and analysis of the findings that these systems produce. Establishment of a framework for evaluation and response to syndromic surveillance data will facilitate the implementation of these systems and standardization of procedures for validation of system findings.
Careful development of an evaluation and response framework should be undertaken to assess whether use of syndromic surveillance systems requires excess work to distinguish between statistical anomalies and important public health events. The paper available here, Syndromic Surveillance on the Epidemiologist's Desktop: Making Sense of Much Data, published in the 26 August 2005 MMWR, puts forward recommendations for such frameworks.