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Data Types and Issues

1. In what format should data be sent to BioSense 2.0?

Our development team is currently evaluating a variety of messaging options (i.e., PHINMS, secure FTP, and Direct/Connect), that will be supported in the BioSense 2.0 environment. Our goal is to make the provision of data as easy as possible for contributors to the system, so we expect to be able to accept a variety of data formats from simple to complex.

If a state or local health department collects data from hospitals and health providers using their own technology, they can simply send data to BioSense 2.0 through an automated feed. For states using BioSense 2.0 as a “catcher’s mitt” for Meaningful Use, hospitals and health providers will submit data directly to BioSense 2.0 (into their own private secure area in the environment), which is controlled by a health department representative.

Please view “What special hardware/software will our hospitals need to transmit the data to the new BioSense?” for additional information.

2. How will other data streams be handled, such as school absentee data, pharmacy data, foodborne outbreaks, etc? (data)

In order to be “open for business” by November 2011, the BioSense 2.0 development team is focusing first on establishing data feeds from current contributors to the new environment, and ensuring that new jurisdictions using BioSense 2.0 as a Meaningful Use “catcher’s mitt” will be able to receive data elements, outlined in the ISDS Recommendation for Core Processes and EHR Requirements for Public Health Syndromic Surveillance. The development team will begin to evaluate additional data feeds to integrate in future versions of the system in 2012. If you have any specific suggestions, please submit your feedback to

3. Can we get census data included?

We intend to include census data, to some extent. We're focused right now on being up and running with the 32 Meaningful Use [or ED data] data elements by November 2011. Our development team will begin to evaluate addition data feeds to integrate in future versions of the system in early 2012. If you have any specific suggestions, please send your feedback to
4. The VA and DoD contributed the majority of data for the original BioSense, how will these data sources be integrated into BioSense 2.0?

We are currently working with DoD and VA to ensure a seamless transition of feeds into the new BioSense environment in line with our November 2011 release date.

5. Are there any limitations to the type and/or level of data that my jurisdiction provides to BioSense 2.0?

The type and detail of the data used in the shared BioSense 2.0 Web application is specified by the jurisdiction. The new BioSense application is designed to be a collaborative system, so the more detailed the data that are shared, the better the information within the system. The system will be able to send and accept both record-level and aggregate data. Users will be able to select an option to store and analyze data locally or sharing data with the larger BioSense 2.0 community. We anticipate jurisdictions will elect to share syndromic data within the community members they authorize while working with more detailed data within their own secure area of the BioSense environment.

6. How do we establish data use agreements (DUAs) to participate in BioSense 2.0?

CSTE will have a DUA template that your jurisdiction can tailor to your individual policies and practices. This DUA is established between the environment and your individual jurisdiction.

If you would like additional guidance for your individual jurisdiction, please send an e-mail to

*Please see The Cloud and Security for additional for data and security-related FAQs.