NMI Glossary

Term Description
CDC Surveillance Strategy Launched in February 2014, the CDC Surveillance Strategy (https://www.cdc.gov/surveillance/) is a plan to improve the agency’s activities in public health surveillance. The strategy aims to improve CDC’s overall surveillance capabilities and, by extension, those of the public health system at large. The strategy guides efforts to make essential surveillance systems more adaptable to the rapidly changing technology landscape, more versatile in meeting demands for expanding knowledge about evolving threats to health, and more able to meet the demands for timely and population-specific and geographic-specific surveillance information. The strategy will also facilitate work to consolidate systems, eliminate unnecessary redundancies in reporting, and reduce reporting burden.

The three major goals of the CDC Surveillance Strategy are to

  1. enhance the accountability, resource use, workforce, and innovation for surveillance at CDC and in support of state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) agencies;
  2. accelerate the utilization of emerging tools and approaches to improve the availability, quality, and timeliness of surveillance data; and,
  3. through cross-cutting agency initiatives, improve surveillance by addressing data availability, system usability, redundancies, and incorporation of new information technologies in major systems or activities.

NMI is one of four initiatives to address goal number three.

Implementation Template and User Guide A common guide for all audiences tasked with implementation of NMI messaging, this template merges information from the NNDSS HL7 Message Mapping Guides (MMGs), NMI HL7 Message Specification, and PHIN Vocabulary Access and Distribution System (PHIN VADS). For public health agency (PHA) program subject matter experts, this template serves as the means to perform gap analysis (PHA’s existing data vs CDC’s requested data) and provides the mapping to the local data elements. For the PHA IT implementers, it serves as the underlying structure for the integration engine, provides mapping from local to standardized data elements, and provides links to bound value set for vocabulary validation.
Integration Engine Route & User Guide PHAs can use these NMI-specific Rhapsody or Mirth channels as a starting point for implementation if they employ an integration engine; includes mapping and validation.
Message Evaluation and Testing Service (METS) CDC provides the METS tool to PHAs and other messaging partners to test generated messages one by one. The METS tool allows PHAs to perform independent validation of messages before end-to-end testing.
Message Mapping Guide (MMG) Message mapping guides used in the NNDSS program describe the data content needed for electronic HL7 case notifications for nationally notifiable infectious diseases or conditions.

These MMGs include a description of each data element in the case notification as well as the attributes associated with each data element, such as its valid values, whether the data element repeats, and HL7 instructions specific for the data element. Public health jurisdictions use the HL7 message structure specification/profile to package all the variables in an MMG into an HL7 case notification message.

MMGs are used for each condition or disease that is transmitted to CDC through NNDSS. Nationally notifiable diseases that do not have disease-specific variables use only the generic v2 MMG,  which includes the basic information needed in every case notification, while conditions with disease-specific data use both the generic v2 MMG and a disease-specific MMG.

MMGs help reporting jurisdictions map each data element in an MMG to a data element in the reporting jurisdiction’s surveillance information system. A data element defines a unit of information needed by the surveillance system.

Message Validation, Processing, and Provisioning System (MVPS) CDC uses MVPS to receive and process case notification messages from PHAs and provision them to CDC programs. PHAs and other messaging partners have access to the MVPS Dashboard, which provides feedback on messages received and information on any warnings or errors generated. CDC offers PHAs information and training on how to access and use the MVPS Dashboard.
MMG Test Scenarios MMG test scenarios provide information the PHA needs to create test messages for validation.
MMG Test Messages MMG test messages are helpful for testing the integration engine route and for comparing to PHA-created test messages.
MVPS Dashboard The MVPS Dashboard is a component of MVPS that displays data sent by jurisdictions, including the details of messages received and processed by CDC, as well as warnings and errors on messages that were submitted by jurisdictions but do not pass the structural, content, and business rules validation. As a result, jurisdictions and programs use the dashboard to verify the number of messages received by CDC and to assist with the reconciliation of data throughout the year. In the longer term, MVPS also will provide information on which cases were included in the published weekly, quarterly, and yearly totals, allowing jurisdictions to reproduce counts and track case counts included within these tables.
National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) is a nationwide collaboration that enables all levels of public health—local, state, territorial, federal, and international—to share notifiable disease-related health information. Public health uses this information to monitor, control, and prevent the occurrence and spread of state-reportable and nationally notifiable infectious and noninfectious diseases and conditions.

NNDSS is a multifaceted program that includes the surveillance system for collection, analysis, and sharing of health data. It also includes policies, laws, electronic messaging standards, people, partners, information systems, processes, and resources at the local, state, territorial, and national levels.

National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) Integrated surveillance information systems in reporting jurisdictions that are based on the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) architectural standards are primary data sources for NNDSS. Jurisdictions use these information systems to create and send standards-based case notifications to CDC for NNDSS. Currently, case notifications can be sent using three different standards; CDC’s NNDSS Modernization Initiative will provide a single, new standard to transmit data to CDC.
NEDSS Base System (NBS) The NEDSS Base System is a CDC-developed integrated information system that helps local, state, and territorial public health departments manage reportable disease data and send notifiable disease data to CDC. NBS provides a tool to support the public health investigation workflow and to process, analyze, and share disease-related health information. NBS also provides reporting jurisdictions with a NEDSS-compatible information system to transfer epidemiologic, laboratory, and clinical data efficiently and securely over the Internet.
National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance (NETSS) Before implementing NEDSS, CDC developed and used the National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance. The term NETSS refers to a 1) computerized public health surveillance information system that provides CDC with weekly data regarding nationally notifiable diseases and 2) data file content format for submitting case notifications to CDC. NETSS surveillance information systems continue to be used by selected jurisdictions that are transitioning to the more robust NEDSS. A bare-bones approach for providing basic data and information, the NETSS file content format has not been changed or updated substantially since NETSS launched in 1990.
NNDSS Modernization Initiative (NMI) With the evolution of technology and data and exchange standards, CDC is strengthening and modernizing the infrastructure supporting the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. As part of the CDC Surveillance Strategy, the NNDSS Modernization Initiative is enhancing the system’s ability to provide more comprehensive, timely, and higher quality data than ever before for public health decision making. Through this multi-year initiative, CDC is increasing the robustness of the NNDSS technological infrastructure so that it is based on interoperable, standardized data and exchange mechanisms.

NMI has three key components:

  1. development of prioritized message mapping guides for HL7 case notifications, which provide guidance for how to package and transmit case notification data;
  2. the MVPS, software that validates and processes nationally notifiable disease data messages sent by jurisdictions and provisions the data to CDC programs; and
  3. technical assistance for implementation of HL7 case notification messages in jurisdictions submitting case notifications to NNDSS.
PHIN Case Notification Guide The PHIN Case Notification Guide outlines the specifications for case notification messaging. This information is incorporated into the NMI Implementation Template.

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Acronym/Abbreviation Definition


Association of Public Health Laboratories


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists


electronic State HL7 Implementation to Achieve Resource Exchange


Frequently Asked Questions

Gen V2

Generic Version 2


Health Level 7


Information Technology


Message Evaluation and Testing System


Message Mapping Guides


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report


Message Validation, Processing, and Provisioning System


NNDSS Modernization Initiative


National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System


Public Health Information Network Messaging System


Security Access Management System


Subject Matter Experts


Technical Assistance
Page last reviewed: December 2, 2019