ISDS Webinar – July 21, 2015 Making the Best Use of Textual ED Data for Syndromic Surveillance

Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT


Debbie Travers, PhD, RN, CEN, FAEN

Associate Professor of Nursing and Emergency Medicine

Faculty, Carolina Health Informatics Program

School of Nursing, CB 7460
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC


In this webinar Dr. Travers will review two tools developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which aid in processing textual CC’s and triage notes in support of syndromic surveillance.

Textual data from emergency departments (EDs) is a common source of data for syndromic surveillance. In the last few years the adoption of electronic health records systems in EDs has improved the availability of timely electronic data from EDs for secondary uses however using these data for syndrome surveillance can still be problematic. Chief complaints from ED visits are a common data source for syndromic surveillance, but there is still no standard for documenting CC. EDs still customize their own CC pick lists, and additionally many allow free text entries.  Another source of symptom data from EDs is triage notes, which are documented with methods such as point and click phrase builders and free text entry by ED nurses.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this webinar participants will be able to:

  1.  Identify tools for processing textual ED chief complaint and triage note data for syndromic surveillance.
  2.   Describe the process for obtaining Emergency Medical Text Process (EMT-P) and the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS).
  3.   Discuss the benefits and challenges of using triage notes for syndromic surveillance.


Learn more about this webinar on our website.

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