The CDC’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) has been collecting syndromic data from Emergency Departments (ED) in near real-time since 2003. The system captures close to 65% of all ED visits in the U.S., and national prevalence estimates can be derived for ED visits related to various health outcomes, including nonfatal self-inflicted injuries. These data paint a picture of ED presentations over the prior 24 to 48 hours, thus allowing the system to produce near real-time information on patterns of visits associated with nonfatal self-inflicted injuries presenting in EDs across the U.S. These data may be used to detect deviations from usual patterns of self-harm and can help drive public health response if atypical activity, such as geospatial or temporal clusters of nonfatal self-inflicted injuries, is observed.
The purpose of this cooperative agreement is two-fold: 1) to support the NSSP in building its infrastructure to optimize the system so that it can better handle the increased national load of data, and 2) to support a cooperative agreement with up to four grant recipients to run quarterly queries designed to identify self-harm cases within their local NSSP data set to engage in active surveillance of such behavior at the state and/or local level. Recipients will share data with CDC through NSSP’s Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community Epidemics (ESSENCE) platform, so that data can be used for research activities, such as simultaneous tracking of suicide attempt and opioid overdose data and comparison of trends and demographic and geographic similarities and differences in these outcomes over time.
Additionally, this data will be used to enhance CDC’s social media surveillance work. The data will also support the ensemble approach, which involves combining multiple data sources to enhance the ability of social media data to be used to predict suicide-related outcomes over time. Applications are due June 14, 2019.