Syndromic Surveillance

ESSENCE tracks patient chief complaints and discharge diagnoses from 105 emergency departments across the State. We typically receive information from participating emergency departments within 24 hours of a patient encounter. We use syndromes in ESSENCE to get pre-diagnostic estimates of health conditions being reported from emergency departments. Syndromes are combinations of words that may be related to a patient’s medical condition, but are not confirmation of a clinical diagnosis. The pre-diagnostic information we get from syndromes help us estimate whether an abnormal number of patients are seeking care with similar illnesses upon registration at the emergency department.

The number of mentions of COVID-19 in patient chief complaints or documentation of COVID-19 like illness in Tennessee emergency department encounters has trended upward since reaching a low point in late May: