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Principles & Practice of Public Health Surveillance$
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Lisa M. Lee, Steven M. Teutsch, Stephen B. Thacker, and Michael E. St. Louis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372922

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372922.001.0001

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Evolving Challenges and Opportunities in Public Health Surveillance

Evolving Challenges and Opportunities in Public Health Surveillance

(p.418) 20 Evolving Challenges and Opportunities in Public Health Surveillance
Principles & Practice of Public Health Surveillance

Lisa M. Lee

Stephen B. Thacker

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes key points from the book, including the stability of the definition of public health surveillance, and the importance of planning a system with defined outputs and a specific public health purpose. Public health surveillance systems are designed to produce information about a population from which the data are collected in order to prevent or control disease or injury, or to identify an unusual event of public health importance. The chapter outlines three challenges and opportunities for surveillance. The first involves finding the discipline's right place under the broadly conceived umbrella of “health knowledge” and finding a common lexicon for all health data collections. The second is reconciling the increased ability to amass identifiable data without a specific intended use with the ethical principles that must guide public health data collection, storage, and use. The third is to ensure a versatile and agile public health surveillance workforce, equipped to deal with many aspects of measuring and responding to health problems in a community.

Keywords:   challenges, opportunities, ethics, health information exchanges, workforce, summary, surveillance, public health

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