Surveillance systems are often considered information loops or cycles involving

Surveillance systems are often considered information

This preview shows page 297 - 299 out of 527 pages.

Surveillance systems are often considered information loops or cycles involving health care providers, public health agencies, and the public, as illustrated in Figure 5.1. The cycle begins when cases of disease occur and are reported by health care providers to the public health agencies. The cycle is not completed until information about these cases is relayed to those responsible for disease prevention and control and others “who need to know.” Because health care Figure 5.1 Information loop involving health care providers, public health agencies, and the public Public Health Care Providers Summaries, Interpretations, Recommendations Health Agencies Analysis Reports
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Lesson 5: Public Health Surveillance Page 291 providers, health agencies, and the public all have some responsibility for disease prevention and control, they all should be included among those who receive feedback of surveillance information. Depending on the circumstances, others who need to know may include other government agencies, potentially exposed individuals, employers, vaccine manufacturers, private voluntary organizations, legislators on the health subcommittee, and innumerable others. In the United States, the concept public health surveillance does not include administration of prevention and control programs, but does include an intended link with those programs (11). In other words, the goal of surveillance is not merely to collect data for analysis, but to guide public health policy and action. In fact, surveillance has been defined quite succinctly as “information for action (15).” Figure 5.2, for example, outlines some of the actions that are based, in part at least, on information from surveillance activities. Figure 5.2 The components of surveillance and resulting public health action Surveillance Public Health Action Collection Priority setting Analysis Planning, implementing, and evaluating disease Interpretation investigation Dissemination control prevention The concept of public health surveillance has evolved over time and is still confused with other uses of the term surveillance . The current concept of surveillance as the monitoring of disease occurrence in populations was promoted by Dr. Alexander D. Langmuir as a function of the newly created Communicable Disease Center (now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC)) (10). Before that, surveillance had meant the close observation of persons who had been exposed to a communicable disease in order to detect early symptoms and to institute prompt isolation and control measures. To distinguish between these two surveillance activities, we now use public health surveillance to describe monitoring health events in populations, and use the term medical surveillance to describe monitoring potentially exposed individuals to detect early symptoms.
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