Engage is the first of four onboarding phases for the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). Onboarding is a collaborative process in which the NSSP and site teams work with a facility, health department, electronic health records (EHR) vendor, or health information exchange (HIE) to transmit syndromic data from medical record systems to the NSSP BioSense Platform.

The “STEPS TO ENGAGE” job aid will guide the site administrator and feed administrator through activities that must be completed before connecting to the BioSense Platform. During the engage phase, sites will manage the list of onboarding facilities, placing highest priority on emergency departments and urgent care facilities. Sometimes the site administrator will oversee the feed administrator’s tasks.

Job aids are available for planning and onboarding. Use these job aids with each other and the New Site Onboarding Guide for the BioSense Platformpdf icon, hereafter referred to as Onboarding Guide.

Onboarding Steps Engage

STEP 1: Confirm upcoming onboarding windows. Email, or create an NSSP Service Desk ticket requesting to onboard a site. NSSP will notify you of upcoming new site onboarding windows. STEP 1: Coordinate with the site administrator to prepare facility for onboarding and develop HL7 messages per syndromic surveillance messaging guidelines (see Onboarding Guide, page 8).
STEP 2: Identify feed administrator (primary contact) for setting up facility connection. STEP 2: Set up service-level agreements, as needed.
STEP 3: Engage with facilities you want to onboard during the new site onboarding window, prioritizing emergency department (ED) facilities. STEP 3: As an ONC requirement, submit at least two test messages of each HL7 message type to the NIST validation tool. Validate the following message types and confirm successful results:
  • A01—Admit/Visit
  • A03—Discharge/End Visit
  • A04—Registration
  • A08—Update Patient Information

For message formatting details, see PHIN Messaging Guide 2.0.

STEP 4: Review deadlines associated with grant, cooperative agreement, or other funding mechanism (if applicable). STEP 4: Submit successful results to site administrator.
STEP 5: Review NIST HL7 validation results with feed administrators for each facility that will be onboarded (see Onboarding Guide, page 8). STEP 5: Review NIST HL7 validation results with site administrator.
STEP 6: Attend New-site Onboarding Kickoff Webinar. Afterwards, NSSP will provide the new-site onboarding schedule containing deadlines and requirements.
STEP 7: Establish service-level agreements with facilities as needed. Examples include Facility BOPA and DUA. Site and facility BOPAs can be found in the Onboarding Guide.
STEP 8: Request an Access & Management Center (AMC) account by submitting a ticket to the NSSP Service Desk.
STEP 9: Update the site Master Facility Table (MFT) to include facilities you want to onboard. Set facility status to Onboarding. To add a new facility, see the BioSense Platform Quick Start Guide to Using the Master Facility Table.

BOPA: BioSense Platform Onboarding Process Acknowledgment
DUA: Data Use Agreement
ONC: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
NIST: National Institute of Science and Technology
PHIN: Public Health Information Network

Page last reviewed: September 23, 2021