Syndromic Surveillance-Meaningful Use

Current Status of Syndromic Surveillance in Texas 

As of May 5, 2016, Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), in collaboration with local health departments across Texas and with Tarrant County Public Health and Houston Health Department as data collection partners for Health Service Regions (HSRs) 2/3 and 6/5S, respectively, has established a statewide syndromic surveillance network. See map of HSRs at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/state.shtm.

The statewide syndromic surveillance system ( Texas Syndromic Surveillance or TxS2) will serve to help identify emerging health threats and inform local decision-making while protecting individuals’ privacy. Hospital partners electing to participate will be able to share data electronically with their local health department, which will use the data to better understand and respond to a community’s health issues. The hospital will be able to use an advanced set of analytic tools to better understand their population.

All hospitals/hospital systems with emergency departments, free-standing emergency centers, and urgent care centers are eligible to participate in TxS2. The data format for submission is consistent with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record Incentive Payment Programs (EHR Incentive Programs).

Please note: during a transition period, hospitals that initiated syndromic surveillance under the former Texas Association of Local Health Officials (TALHO) program should continue to submit data to that system until their connections are transferred.

Declaration of Readiness for Meaningful Use

Consistent with federal guidelines regarding Stage 3 Meaningful Use, DSHS is declaring readiness to receive data meeting the messaging requirements specified in the 2015 Edition CEHRT and PHIN Messaging Guide for Syndromic Surveillance, Release 2.0 for data submitting January 1, 2017.

DSHS is currently only accepting registrations from hospitals/hospital systems with emergency departments, free-standing emergency centers, and urgent care centers. DSHS will not be connecting other Data Providers to TxS2 in 2016. DSHS did not operate a statewide surveillance system in 2013, 2014, or 2015.

For More Information and to Register Intent to Submit Data:

  • Data Providers located in HSR 2/3 that are connected to the Tarrant County Public Health system will continue to submit data to this system and the data will be sent to TxS2. If your facility is located within HSR 2/3 and you would like to connect to this system, please contact Bill Stephens at wfstephens@tarrantcounty.com or (817) 321-5365. In addition, if your facility would like access to view aggregate statewide syndromic surveillance data, please contact TxS2 at syndromic.surveillance@dshs.texas.gov.

  • Data Providers located in HSR 6/5S that connect to the Houston Health Department system will submit data to that system and the data will be sent to TxS2. If your facility is located within HSR 6/5S and you would like to connect to this system, please contact Wesley McNeely at wesley.mcneely@houstontx.gov or (281) 433-7934. In addition, if your facility would like access to view aggregate statewide syndromic surveillance data, please contact TxS2 at syndromic.surveillance@dshs.texas.gov

  • Data Providers outside HSR 2/3 and HSR 6/5S, including those currently submitting data through the former Texas Association of Local Health Officials (TALHO) system, will be connected directly to the TxS2 system. Please contact TxS2 at syndromic.surveillance@dshs.texas.gov to obtain more information about registering an intent to submit syndromic surveillance data. Information about obtaining access to view aggregate statewide data will be included in the registration information.

  • Data Providers currently submitting data to the former TALHO system should continue to do so until their connections are transferred. Please note – these connections will not be automatically transferred off the former TALHO system. Facilities in HSR 6/5S will need to work with Houston Health Department to transfer their connections to the Houston Health Department system. Facilities located throughout the rest of Texas will need to work with DSHS to transfer their connections to TxS2.

Additional Information

Please retain a copy of this web page as documentation supporting the status of statewide syndromic surveillance by DSHS for any attestation you or your organization may make if you participate in either the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive payment programs. 

If you have further questions about syndromic surveillance at DSHS, please contact syndromic.surveillance@dshs.texas.gov.

Questions about participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program should be directed to HealthIT@tmhp.com 

Additional information about participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program can be found at https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Basics.html.

If you have other questions about meaningful use and public health, you may contact the DSHS Meaningful Use mailbox at MeaningfulUseTX@dshs.texas.gov

Last updated March 1, 2017