Technical Updates

Fall 2020 New Site Onboarding Window

After weeks of working with potential sites, we are excited to kick-off the Fall 2020 New Site Onboarding Window with 6 new sites. Participants include Guam; Hawaii; Plumas County, CA; San Diego County, CA; Wyoming; and Yosemite Gateway Region, CA (representing 5 counties).

During this onboarding window, NSSP will configure BioSense Platform tools and applications for the new sites and provide webinars and introductory training on how to use ESSENCE, Data Validation and Quality Reports, Master Facility Table Data Reference Guide, and Access & Management Center (AMC). Sites that successfully complete these activities during the New-site Onboarding Window can continue onboarding their facilities and will be added to NSSP’s participation map. Once these sites begin submitting data to production, NSSP will be receiving data from facilities in every U.S. state!

Onboarding Guides

Reminder! Onboarding Guides and Job Aids Now Available

The NSSP onboarding team has developed new onboarding guides to help sites plan for and navigate the onboarding process. Sites joining the NSSP’s BioSense Platform for the first time can refer to the New Site Onboarding Guide. Existing sites onboarding new facilities to the NSSP BioSense Platform will have a New Facility Onboarding Guide. Look for these guides in the NSSP Technical Resource Center.

The new job aids will take you step-by-step through each phase of onboarding—from initial planning through operation. Each job aid links to pertinent sections in the Onboarding Guides, should your onboarding need require more explanation.

You can provide feedback on the guides and job aids at

New Syndrome Definitions Added to ESSENCE

Several new syndrome definitions are now available for use. Some improve upon the originals and others are new:

  • Synthetic Cannabinoids v1
  • Opioid Overdose v3
  • All Drug v2
  • Unintentional Firearm Injury v1
  • Intentional Firearm Injury v1
  • Assault firearm Injury v1
  • Firearm Injury v2

These syndrome definitions will soon be added to the NSSP Community of Practice Knowledge Repositoryexternal icon.

NSSP Replaces RStudio Server

In mid-November, the NSSP will upgrade the server for RStudio Pro to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. This brings the operating system up to date, enabling NSSP to upgrade the R language to version 4. Server testing is scheduled for November 9–13, 2020, with the servers running in parallel until testing concludes on November 13th and the old server is shut down.

This new server enables NSSP to:

  • Upgrade the R language and system packages from version 3.6 to version 4.0*;
  • Upgrade the Python language from version 2.7 to version 3.6;
  • Upgrade the GCC compiler and supporting libraries from version 4.8 to version 8.3; and
  • Upgrade most system libraries to newer (2019–2020) versions.

Overall, these changes will allow NSSP to better support R and Python data-science tools.

*The R language on the new server will be upgraded to version 4.0.2, potentially requiring changes to your R code and R packages. Details are forthcoming.

AMC Deployment and Patching

NSSP successfully retired Adminer on October 11, 2020. If you’re looking for another way to query data on Datamart, check out this article in the Data Quality Corner. The article describes how to use RStudio Pro to query data and shows examples of code.

We also conducted routine monthly patching and applied changes to the Access & Management Center (AMC) production environment. We removed the retired Adminer link and made corrections to the Master Facility Table (MFT) interface.

The NSSP team is currently preparing for November and December monthly patching and preparing for a spring 2021 2.6.9 Release.

Page last reviewed: November 12, 2020