Use of Automated Ambulatory-Care Encounter Records for Detection of Acute Illness Clusters, Including Potential Bioterrorism Events
Ross Lazarus*† , Ken Kleinman‡§, Inna Dashevsky‡, Courtney Adams‡, Patricia Kludt¶, Alfred DeMaria¶, and Richard Platt*‡§
Author affiliations: *Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; †University of Sydney School of Public Health, Sydney, Australia; ‡Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; §CDC Eastern Massachusetts Prevention Epicenter and HMO Research Network Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; ¶Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA;
Figure 4. Weekly total ambulatory-care episodes of lower respiratory syndrome (broken line) and hospital admissions for lower respiratory syndrome (solid line) in Massachusetts for the 3 years from September 9, 1996, through September 9, 1999. The eligible population for the hospital data was the entire population of each zip code; the ambulatory care data came from a variable subset of each zip code. As a result, the number of hospital admissions was higher than the number of ambulatory-care episodes for parts of the period shown.
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