Development and Evaluation of a Fully Automated Surveillance System for Influenza-Associated Hospitalization at a Multihospital Health System in Northeast Ohio

Appl Clin Inform. 2020 Aug;11(4):564-569. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1715651. Epub 2020 Aug 26.


Background: Performing high-quality surveillance for influenza-associated hospitalization (IAH) is challenging, time-consuming, and essential.

Objectives: Our objectives were to develop a fully automated surveillance system for laboratory-confirmed IAH at our multihospital health system, to evaluate the performance of the automated system during the 2018 to 2019 influenza season at eight hospitals by comparing its sensitivity and positive predictive value to that of manual surveillance, and to estimate the time and cost savings associated with reliance on the automated surveillance system.

Methods: Infection preventionists (IPs) perform manual surveillance for IAH by reviewing laboratory records and making a determination about each result. For automated surveillance, we programmed a query against our Enterprise Data Vault (EDV) for cases of IAH. The EDV query was established as a dynamic data source to feed our data visualization software, automatically updating every 24 hours.To establish a gold standard of cases of IAH against which to evaluate the performance of manual and automated surveillance systems, we generated a master list of possible IAH by querying four independent information systems. We reviewed medical records and adjudicated whether each possible case represented a true case of IAH.

Results: We found 844 true cases of IAH, 577 (68.4%) of which were detected by the manual system and 774 (91.7%) of which were detected by the automated system. The positive predictive values of the manual and automated systems were 89.3 and 88.3%, respectively.Relying on the automated surveillance system for IAH resulted in an average recoup of 82 minutes per day for each IP and an estimated system-wide payroll redirection of $32,880 over the four heaviest weeks of influenza activity.

Conclusion: Surveillance for IAH can be entirely automated at multihospital health systems, saving time, and money while improving case detection.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Automation
  • Data Mining
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / epidemiology*
  • Influenza, Human / therapy*
  • Laboratories
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Software

Grant support

Funding None.