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Integrated Biosurveillance (photo credit: iStock)
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Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics

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Bio-Surveillance is the process of gathering, integrating, interpreting, and communicating essential information that might relate to disease activity and threats to human, animal and plant health.

Unveiled in 2004, The Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE) is a data mart within Department of Health and Human Services’ Executive Information/Decision Support (EI/DS) family of systems that uses outpatient information to monitor trends and increases in activity that may represent a disease outbreak, CBRN event, or significant other medical event.

ESSENCE monitors scans certain MHS clinical data sources continuously. When ESSENCE detects a potential event of Military Health Systems (MHS) interest the application provides an alert to users who are responsible for public health responses for that area or facility.

AFHSB, the Service-specific public health centers, and medical treatment facilities (MTFs) worldwide, use ESSENCE to:

  • Monitor the health status of the MHS population in a time of concerns about possible terrorist attacks.
  • Monitor and assess the MHS population for ongoing physical health status; occurrence of illness, injury, disease; potential hazards and actual exposures to contaminants.
  • Facilitate prompt recognition and investigation of Tri-Service Reportable Medical Events.
  • Permit access to aggregate data to analyze the epidemiologic characteristics of health events of interest.
  • Support the MHS Force Health Protection mission to maintain readiness by providing information to facilitate informed decision-making and timely response.
  • Provide Longitudinal Health Monitoring by performing retrospective analysis and surveillance of all medical encounters, physical examination, and other relevant health exposure information for each individual.
  • Provide Syndromic Surveillance that may precede diagnosis.
  • Essence enables allocation of needed medical assistance and supplies to control disease outbreak and protect individuals with medical treatment.
  • Enable the development of risk communication strategies to limit spread of disease.

ESSENCE Fact Sheet

Last Updated: September 13, 2023
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