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GeoMedStat: An Integrated Spatial Surveillance System

Real-time surveillance of hospital admission information can help in better health care preparation, identifying potential outbreaks, and public health awareness when necessary. When such patient surveillance systems are integrated with tracking environmental pollutants associated with certain types of admission, they may help with more effective interventions.

At UMMC, we have developed GeoMedStat, an integrated spatial surveillance system capable of tracking and mapping both real-time and historical patient encounters along with air pollution data. GeoMedStat has links to hospital information systems allowing real-time access to both Chief Complaint and ICD of patient encounters. The currently tracked health care events are daily: a) real-time asthma hospitalization from the UMMC hospital system; and b) historical statewide asthma hospitalization from the MSDH.

Environmental air quality has a major impact on human health. PM2.5 and ozone (O3) are known to exacerbate asthma and other health problems. GeoMedStat utilizes NASA satellite data and EPA ground-monitored data as inputs for surface modeling of PM2.5 and O3.

Implementation of real-time or near real-time integrated surveillance system is a challenge due to: a) disparate sources of data; b) different types of data; c) data incompatibility; and d) lack of standardized technological components. In addition, accessing and utilizing health data that are considered as PHI, requiring stringent protocols, have to be supported by the system. This presentation aims to illustrate the development of GeoMedStat, its components and functionality.