Informatics Critical to Public Health Surveillance

Parsa Mirhaji, Jiajie Zhang, Jack W. Smith, Mohammad Madjid, Samuel W. Casscells, Scott R. Lillibridge

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Public health surveillance is the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data regarding a health-related event for use in public health action to reduce morbidity and mortality and to improve health1 by effective response management and coordination. As new pressures for early detection of disease outbreaks have arisen, particularly for outbreaks of possible bioterrorism (BT) origin, and as electronic health data have become increasingly available, so has the demand for public health situation awareness systems Although these systems are valuable for early warning of public health emergencies, there remains the cost of developing and managing such large and complex systems and of investigating inevitable false alarms. Whether these systems are dependable and cost effective enough and can demonstrate a significant and indispensable role in detection or prevention of mass casualty events of BT origin remains to be proven. This article will focus on the complexities of design, analysis, implementation and evaluation of public health surveillance and situation awareness systems and, in some cases, will discuss the key technologies being studied in Center for Biosecurity Informatics Research at University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventSensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C31) Technologies for Homeland Defense and Law Enforcement II - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Apr 21 2003Apr 25 2003


  • Biosecurity
  • Public Health Information Systems
  • Semantic Integration of Heterogeneous Information
  • Semantic Visualization
  • Syndromic Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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