Summary

Because of a new requirement for biosurveillance (very early detection of disease outbreaks), biosurveillance systems are undergoing a process of re-engineering and de novo construction. Designers of biosurveillance systems have an opportunity to adopt a more formal engineering approach that begins with specification of functional requirements. At this time, the understanding of such requirements for most diseases, however, is incomplete. There is a general recognition that systems should detect outbreaks "as early as possible''; however, this level of specification is less than ideal because designers must consider many tradeoffs between earliness and cost when designing systems. A designer may simplify the process of functional requirement specification by recognizing that a relatively small number of patterns can guide this process. The state of the art in functional requirement definition for biosurveillance is "perhaps the end of the beginning,'' as Winston Churchill so aptly put it.

This chapter is also the end of the beginning.We continue our discussion of the design of biosurveillance systems in Part II by reviewing the organizations that participate in biosurveillance and their missions. Part III discusses newer data analytic methods, Part IV considers new types of surveillance data that designers may consider, and Part V addresses the question of how biosurveillance systems can be designed to support decision making. We finally return explicitly to the topic of building biosurveillance systems in Part VI.

3a mhom, HMTaTenb! [Follow me,reader!] (Bulgakov,2001).

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