The Texas Syndromic Surveillance (TxS2) www.dshs.texas/txs2 is a statewide syndromic surveillance system currently being built by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) www.dshs.texas.gov for use by local health departments in the state.
In Texas, the DSHS central office and data providers have a need for enhanced surveillance of emerging public health conditions or threats. Syndromic surveillance uses trend analysis to establish a baseline plus algorithms to compare the current data to that baseline and then issues alerts when aberrations are detected.
In 2011, a DSHS survey found six syndromic surveillance systems existed in various parts of the state but there was no data sharing between them. As of July 2016, only two of these systems are active in the state. Approximately one-third of data providers in Texas are participating in syndromic surveillance but the two existing systems do not share data.
The TxS2 configuration will consist of data providers and possible health information exchanges using secure protocols to submit individual level data to DSHS through the Health Services Gateway. Data will be stored in a secure database and accessed by users through the analysis software known as ESSENCE.
In May 2016, registration opened for hospitals with emergency departments, free-standing emergency centers, and urgent care centers to register their intent to submit data to TxS2. DSHS is currently only accepting registrations from these data providers and will not be connecting other data providers to TxS2 in 2016.
TxS2 should be ready for pilot by September 2016. Integration and migration of data from existing syndromic surveillance systems as well as establishing new connections for additional data providers should begin October 2016.
Texas will also share data collected in the TxS2 system with CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) www.cdc.gov/nssp. NSSP collaborates with public health agencies and other partners for the timely exchange of syndromic data to help the nation respond to hazardous events and disease outbreaks.