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Healthy Communities

Syndromic Surveillance

Syndromic Surveillance: On-Boarding Process

What is Syndromic Surveillance?

Syndromic Surveillance is used to identify illness clusters before diagnoses are confirmed and reported to public health agencies. Initiating a rapid response reduces morbidity and mortality. 

This refers to patient identifiers and triage information that is available at the time of a patient’s first clinical encounter with an outpatient provider or an emergency department. Public health agencies benefit because they will receive the information more quickly than waiting on a definitive, laboratoryconfirmed diagnosis. Early detection of certain syndromes increases disease control and response time in the event of an outbreak. 

Example: It is well-recognized that many laboratory studies, e.g. bacterial enteric pathogen serologic testing, stool culture, or pulsed field gel electrophoresis (fingerprinting) on potential foodborne illnesses can take two to three weeks to complete and report to the provider. Furthermore, definitive diagnoses of some vaccine-preventable diseases and tick-borne diseases require tests to be repeated approximately one month after the initial tests. A functional syndromic surveillance system could prompt early recognition of these types of problems, thereby helping to prevent the outbreak from worsening.

Summary: Syndromic Surveillance is a relatively new method of disease surveillance that all states are beginning to use to protect their citizens. Syndromic Surveillance data is accepted by the Arkansas Department of Health, and is handled in accordance with all laws governing protected health information. The data will be used to provide early identification of events that are of public health importance, thereby facilitating a rapid, targeted, and effective response.

Submitting Data

ADH is accepting syndromic surveillance data from Eligible Hospitals (EH), Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), and some, but not all, Eligible Professionals (EP) for the purposes of satisfying Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3 criteria for Meaningful Use.

Accepting Criteria for EPs: Clinics will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible Providers and Eligible Hospitals interested in pursuing the Syndromic Surveillance Meaningful Use objective may work through the On-Boarding Process. Urgent care centers are also encouraged to submit syndromic surveillance data to the agency.

Reporting of syndromic surveillance data is one way in which facilities and providers can meet Meaningful Use requirements.

Visit the Meaningful Use page for details on other ways to meet the requirements.

Register for Meaningful Use using the Meaningful Use Registration and Communications System (MURCS).

meaningful use logo


The Meaningful Use public health option allows Eligible Professionals (EP) or Eligible Hospitals (EH) to electronically submit data on syndromic surveillance using Health Language Seven (HL7) message.


Meaningful Use Syndromic Surveillance On-Boarding Instructions
Syndromic Surveillance Attestation Process
Contact Email
Syndromic Coordinator

Public Health Accrediation Board
Arkansas Department of Health
© 2017 Arkansas Department of Health. All Rights Reserved.
4815 W. Markham, Little Rock, AR 72205-3867