Detecting Changes in Chief Complaint Word Count: Effects on Syndromic Surveillance

Jessica Sell, Robert Mathes, Marc Paladini


Researchers at the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) analyzed trends in chief complaint (CC) word count from NYC emergency department (ED) data from 2008 - 2011 using change point analysis (CPA). CPA results were compared to known changes across the EDs. When CPA detected a significant change in CC word count, trends in syndrome count and syndrome breakdown into constituent symptoms were examined. A significant shift in CC word count may be indicative of a systematic change within an ED, which could affect the DOHMH's ability to categorize ED visits into syndromes.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *