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Proc AMIA Symp. 2002:815-9.

Data, network, and application: technical description of the Utah RODS Winter Olympic Biosurveillance System.

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Center for Biomedical Informatics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Given the post September 11th climate of possible bioterrorist attacks and the high profile 2002 Winter Olympics in the Salt Lake City, Utah, we challenged ourselves to deploy a computer-based real-time automated biosurveillance system for Utah, the Utah Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance system (Utah RODS), in six weeks using our existing Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance (RODS) architecture. During the Olympics, Utah RODS received real-time HL-7 admission messages from 10 emergency departments and 20 walk-in clinics. It collected free-text chief complaints, categorized them into one of seven prodromes classes using natural language processing, and provided a web interface for real-time display of time series graphs, geographic information system output, outbreak algorithm alerts, and details of the cases. The system detected two possible outbreaks that were dismissed as the natural result of increasing rates of Influenza. Utah RODS allowed us to further understand the complexities underlying the rapid deployment of a RODS-like system.

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