“Identifying Data Sources

Public health officials use myriad data sources to collect information for disease surveillance. Because of the ease of access, the majority of this information comes from electronic data sources such as daily physician visits, frequency of ambulance use, and filling of pharmacy prescriptions. Because every piece of information a public health official receives is not an indicator of disease, it is critical to find the right data sources to detect events and trends.

Often, creative thinking is required to identify potentially useful data sources and the combination of variables that may be revealing. Of course, identifying the data sources is only half the battle. It is also critical to determine how reliable the data are and how they will be obtained

Select a chronic disease or condition. Analyze data sources that are or might be used to monitor the disease or condition. Then identify three data sources that you think are useful indicators of an event or trend related to the disease or condition you have selected. Justify your selection of each of the data sources you identified. Briefly address the case protocol (if appropriate) for the data sources and describe how the accuracy of that data might influence the disease surveillance