The Frontlines of Medicine Project: a proposal for the standardized communication of emergency department data for public health uses including syndromic surveillance for biological and chemical terrorism

Ann Emerg Med. 2002 Apr;39(4):422-9. doi: 10.1067/mem.2002.123127.


The Frontlines of Medicine Project is a collaborative effort of emergency medicine (including emergency medical services and clinical toxicology), public health, emergency government, law enforcement, and informatics. This collaboration proposes to develop a nonproprietary, "open systems" approach for reporting emergency department patient data. The common element is a standard approach to sending messages from individual EDs to regional oversight entities that could then analyze the data received. ED encounter data could be used for various public health initiatives, including syndromic surveillance for chemical and biological terrorism. The interlinking of these regional systems could also permit public health surveillance at a national level based on ED patient encounter data. Advancements in the Internet and Web-based technologies could allow the deployment of these standardized tools in a rapid time frame.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Warfare / prevention & control
  • Bioterrorism / prevention & control*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Disaster Planning / methods
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Hazardous Substances / supply & distribution
  • Humans
  • Information Systems / standards*
  • Internet
  • Models, Organizational
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Regional Health Planning / methods
  • Systems Integration
  • Triage / standards
  • United States
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Hazardous Substances