The Biosurveillance Process

In addition to its continuous, cyclic nature, the biosurveillance process has several other properties, which are frequent themes in this book. These properties have implications for the design of a biosurveillance system, the types of computer systems that are required to support biosurveillance, and the training of individuals working in this field:

• Multidisciplinary

• Multiorganizational

• Time critical

• Probabilistic

• Decision oriented

• Data intensive

• Dependent on information technology

• Knowledge intensive

4.1. Multidisciplinary

To conduct biosurveillance (i.e., to collect and analyze data to detect cases and outbreaks and characterize outbreaks), an organization must draw on the expertise of individuals with diverse professional backgrounds: epidemiologists, physicians, nurses, veterinarians, computer scientists, statisticians, water quality specialists, biologists, and microbiologists. Table 1.1 summarizes the expertise and training in different biosurveillance tasks (e.g., diagnosis of individuals and "diagnosis'' of outbreaks) of many of the professionals that participate in biosurveillance. These individuals have different backgrounds

TABLE 1.1 Professional Training Related to Biosurveillance Tasks

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