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Doody ReviewsReviewer: Edward K Mensah, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This book summarizes and describes the state-of-art research on the development and implementation of health surveillance systems that use early indicators of disease to identify outbreaks. The contents range from descriptions of data sources and collection to data analysis and outbreak detection, data visualization and information dissemination, and surveillance systems assessment and evaluation.
Purpose: The purpose is to present a synthesized review of the state-of-the art knowledge in syndromic surveillance research and practice as well as guidelines for researchers.
Audience: The book was written for upper-level undergraduates and graduates in health sciences, computer science, and public administration, researchers in public health and IT, and government public health officials.
Features: The authors reviewed over 200 publications from reputable health sciences and public health journals and over 50 syndromic surveillance systems in the United States, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Japan, and Korea. The conceptual framework of syndromic surveillance presented in the book is based on three functional areas: 1) data sources and collection methodologies; 2) data analysis and outbreak detection; and 3) data visualization, information dissemination, and reporting. The book evaluates the effectiveness of different data sources, thereby providing academic researchers and public health practitioners with rationales for selecting specific data sources to address public health problems. It further concisely describes the standardized vocabularies and the statistical techniques used to develop interoperable syndromic surveillance systems. The authors also detail the techniques of data visualization, information dissemination, and alerting methods. The well-written chapter on assessment and evaluation provides readers with the important factors to consider and the methodologies to use in developing evaluation strategies. The only shortcoming of the book is the absence of a discussion of the application of cloud computing to development of surveillance systems.
Assessment: Researchers, practitioners, and graduate students as well as policy makers with interests in public health surveillance need to have ready access to a book that critically reviews the existing syndromic surveillance applications and addresses the differences in data collection methodologies, data analysis, interpretation, visualization, and aberration detection algorithms. This is the best book that presents a comprehensive coverage of syndromic surveillance systems.