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Notice to Readers Revising CDC's Guidelines for Evaluating Surveillance Systems

A surveillance system provides for the ongoing collection, analysis, and dissemination of data to prevent and control disease. Because all surveillance systems should be assessed periodically for their purpose and usefulness, in 1988, CDC published Guidelines for Evaluating Surveillance Systems (1). Recent developments in the electronic exchange of health data (2,3), the establishment of data collection standards (2,4), and interest in the integration of health information and surveillance systems (4,5) have resulted in the need to revise CDC's guidelines.

The guidelines will be revised by a working group under the direction of CDC's Surveillance Coordination Group, comprising representatives from each of the program areas at CDC and ATSDR and from state organizations that collaborate with CDC. Because the surveillance systems at CDC and ATSDR are implemented in collaboration with state and local prevention partners, these groups will be included in the development of revised guidelines.

Comments on the revision of the guidelines should be submitted by December 1999 by e-mail to or by mail to Attention: Revised Guidelines, Epidemiology Program Office, CDC, Mailstop C-08, 1600 Clifton Road, N.E., Atlanta, GA, 30333.


  1. CDC. Guidelines for evaluating surveillance systems. MMWR 1988;37(no. SS-5).

  2. Harman J. Topics for our times: new health care data -- new horizons for public health. Am J Public Health 1998;88:1019-21.

  3. Duke University Medical Center. Health Level Seven (HL7) application protocol, Medical Center Information Systems, version 3.0. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Medical Center, 1996.

  4. CDC. Integrating public health information and surveillance systems: a report and recommendations from the CDC/ATSDR Steering Committee on Public Health Information and Surveillance System Development. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 1995.

  5. CDC. Surveillance review and notification policy. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 1998.

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Page converted: 12/18/98


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