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The NSSP Service Desk is now available!

posted Feb 3, 2015, 5:12 PM by BioSense Redesign   [ updated Feb 6, 2015, 9:26 AM ]

The National Syndromic Surveillance Program has launched the NSSP Service Desk for its users: 

This Service Desk will enable users the following:
  • Create an account
  • Submit service desk tickets for technical assistance
  • Track your ticket and communicate with the BioSense technical team
We ask that you do not submit technical assistance requests to the BioSense inbox. To view the informational NSSP Service Desk Webinar, click here.  

Biosense Database Servers Are Being Upgraded!

posted Dec 18, 2014, 11:46 AM by BioSense Redesign

We are upgrading the BioSense database servers from MySQL version 5.5.38 to version 5.5.40. This is a bug-fix release, so we expect this to be a transparent upgrade. You should not observe any differences when running routine SQL queries via phpMyAdmin or RStudio. If you do have issues with SQL code following the update, please contact the BioSense technical support team at  

SSLv3 Poodle vulnerability

posted Nov 11, 2014, 8:51 AM by BioSense Redesign

Because of security issues with the Secure Socket Layer version 3 (SSLv3) protocol (see for details), we will soon require that PHINMS senders use the newer and more-secure Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to secure their data.  This should be a transparent upgrade, since most HTTPS connections support both security protocols and automatically select the best-available security.  However, there may be a number of users whose systems are currently configured for SSL connections and these users will need to update their systems to be TLS compliant.


Moving forward, we plan on permanently upgrading to TLS only because the vulnerability is a fundamental weakness in the design of SSL.  According to the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), this is a medium-risk vulnerability that could allow an attacker to intercept PHINMS data that is being sent to BioSense from a SSL-only sender.  See the NIST vulnerability summary at for further information and resources.


Please ensure that your PHINMS sender will support TLS by November 28th so that the transition goes smoothly. 

Our team is available to assist or support your jurisdiction in getting your PHINMS configuration updated.  Please contact the if you need assistance prior to the TLS upgrade planned for November 28, 2014.

BioSense User Community Site

posted Oct 22, 2014, 7:12 AM by Mark Sum   [ updated Oct 22, 2014, 7:13 AM ]

The BioSense User Community Site can be found here:

BioSense v2.0 Data Flow Webinar Slides

posted Oct 6, 2014, 1:34 PM by Stephen Brown

We have posted the slides for the upcoming “BioSense v2.0 Data Flow” webinar in order to allow participants to review them prior to the presentation on Tuesday, October 7th from 3pm-4pm EDT.  The slides can be found in the BioSense Training Library here.

Onboarding Update

posted Sep 30, 2014, 10:05 AM by Stephen Brown

Dear BioSense Onboarding Participants,

We are resuming more normal operations for jurisdictions that are onboarding with BioSense. While there are still minor delays related to a work backlog from interrupted service over the last two weeks, we are working hard to get back on track. 

If you have any questions or comments related to this, please contact Michael Coletta, BioSense Program Manager at

Webinar Announcement: BioSense v2.0 Data Flow

posted Sep 25, 2014, 1:21 PM by Stephen Brown

Title: BioSense v2.0 Data Flow 
Time/DateTuesday, October 7, 2014 from 3:00 – 4:00pm EDT

Mike Alletto, BioSense Redesign Team  
Nabarun Dasgupta, BioSense Redesign Team 

Presenters Mike Alletto and Nabarun Dasgupta will describe the process of how data are received, processed and brought forward to the front-end application in BioSense v2.0.  Their presentation will include a technical overview of all of the steps that a set of data goes through from the receipt of raw data, deduplication, the binning process, and arrival in the application itself. 
At the conclusion of this Webinar, attendees will be able to: 
  • Describe the processes of receipt and deduplication of raw HL7 messages, binning, and loading data to the BioSense application. 
  • Compare visit-level records on the front-end application with records in the back-end lockers and understand where the fields originated and what they mean. 
Please register for this Webinar via this link:

Onboarding Notice

posted Sep 12, 2014, 11:00 AM by Stephen Brown   [ updated Sep 15, 2014, 7:50 AM ]

Dear BioSense Onboarding Participants,

We are expecting delays on activities related to your transition into the BioSense application.  We regret the delay and are working hard to get back on track, but onboarding actions will be temporarily suspended while we redirect resources to manage this temporary situation.  We do not expect this matter to continue beyond 14 days.

As stated, this is a temporary situation and we are grateful for your patience as we work through this unexpected challenge.  We will continue to provide you with updates on this matter because it is very important that we resume your onboarding activities as soon as possible.

As a first option to check the status on this matter, please check here on the Collaboration Site.

If you still have questions, please contact Michael Coletta, BioSense Program Manager at

New BioSense Schema

posted Sep 10, 2014, 5:26 AM by Stephen Brown

Late last week, the BioSense Team implemented an update to the database schema to incorporate additional HL7 fields (see attached spreadsheet), based on expressed interest in such fields from users.  While this update was not expected to have any effect on users and there have been no known effects on the front-end application, it has affected some custom back-end table views that were created for certain jurisdictions.  If you have noticed that a back-end table you were previously able to view or access is no longer available, please contact us at and we will gladly repair the table access for you.

Additionally, the new schema has changed the names of some existing fields.  This may require back-end users to alter previously-saved queries that used these fields.  The most likely examples are listed below:
  • If Visit_Date_Time was used before then Admit_Date_Time should be used now. 
  • If Date_Created was used before then Create_Date_Time should be used now. 
  • If County_Code was used before then County should be used now.
If you have any problems creating queries or running existing queries, please let us know and will help to create the proper query for your intended use.

Recent Updates and Improvements for BioSense Jurisdictions

posted Jul 10, 2014, 8:52 AM by Stephen Brown

We have recently implemented new features and solutions for improvements to the user interface. Your feedback guides our work, so please continue to forward suggestions or corrections ( Thank you for your participation.

New Features
  • Added year dropdown to date picker – no more scrolling through months
  • Instituted logic check – no more start dates that occur after end dates
  • Added a button to reset the zoom level on map and timeline
  • Tabular data display and export of tabular categorical data on demographics
    • Shows tables corresponding to the timelines and includes demographic and data source breakdowns which can be cut/paste into spreadsheets
  • New role for hospitals to log in
  • Added ability to export daily counts for tabular data based on user request
  • Enabled line-level sharing to all users
  • Added question mark tooltip near number of visits to explain double counts in timeline display 
  • Added chi-square testing functionality for analytics - this feature allows comparison with the U.S. standard population for demographics and historical data from same jurisdiction to detect changes over time. It outputs p-value from chi-square statistics in readable sentence(s).
Fixes / Stylistic Changes
  • Source list updated and will work in all browsers
  • Moved Export Line-Level Data button to the Export pane
  • Made widget wider to ease the selection of start and end dates on the main search screen
  • Updated styling on Delete button in My Views so it no longer looks like a missing image
  • Fixed display for the time of day to appear correctly when plotted on timeline.
  • Compare/Combine will now appear continuously rather than sporadically
  • Updated gradient colors for line graph; edited polygon color code based on usability feedback

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