The State of the Mass Surveillance System in Health Care: Why It Needs Advanced AI Implementation

December 24, 2020
The State of the Mass Surveillance System in Health Care: Why It Needs Advanced AI Implementation

Mass surveillance meaning the continuous, ongoing analysis and processing of information associated with the timely transmission of that information to health care providers and authorities.

To get maximum efficiency from mass surveillance, certain conditions must be adhered to.

First, surveillance has to be conducted using scientifically validated methods. Second, authorities, medical centers, and health care services must cooperate closely.

Well-coordinated public health surveillance systems are necessary to prevent the occurrence and further progression of diseases.

Mass surveillance starts with regular analyses of laboratory data and studies of residents' referrals to health care facilities. Only through routine mass surveillance can disease outbreaks be prevented and detected.

Mass surveillance starts with regular analyses of laboratory data and studies of residents' referrals to health care facilities. Only through routine mass surveillance can disease outbreaks be prevented and detected.

“In ten years, the electronic medical record will be the minor player, in terms of where a person’s health history lives. Most information will be kept on the cloud, and the patient will be highly engaged with collecting, curating, and sharing that data. Most doctor visits will be like calling up a YouTube meets virtual human docs, and there will also be an aspect of virtual reality.”

Dr. Leslie Saxon, Professor of Medicine, Clinical Scholar, at the Keck School of Medicine of USC

With machine learning, public health authorities can quickly analyze and process the information they receive, which once again proves the importance of coordinating scientific developments and health care.

Image by Proxet. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries
Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries

Hospital Surveillance: Why it Has a Significant Impact

Most healthcare executives said that investing in the clinical surveillance process was a medium to high priority for their organizations in the near term.

The critical goals of Hospital Surveillance:

  • Monitoring morbidity;
  • Detection of acute outbreaks;
  • Allocation of equipment and personnel resources;
  • Studying the impact of external interventions;
  • Obtaining feedback on the overall quality of patient care in the hospital.

For everyone involved in the medical field to help effectively implement a mass surveillance system in healthcare, everyone needs to know what it is for.

Image by Proxet. Schematic Representation of the Surveillance System - Part 1
Schematic Representation of the Surveillance System - Part 1
Image by Proxet, Schematic Representation of the Surveillance System - Part 2
Schematic Representation of the Surveillance System - Part 2

Here's a closer look at four areas of patient safety where clinical observation has a significant impact.

Improving Opioid Management

About 25 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain abuse them. Surveillance technology for such patients must be developed and actively operated to save lives.

Clinical technology with special surveillance softwares can help control substance use. For example, it is possible to control the number of drugs dispensed to a patient in one prescription, analyze information on drug dosages and interactions, and track the pharmacies the patient used for his doctor's prescriptions. The system tracks all this and can prevent patient abuse of opioids.

Artificial intelligence can play a crucial role as one of the methods of surveillance, making it easier to collect and analyze information for further management.

For example, hospitals can use mass surveillance to monitor duplicate prescriptions and overprescribing, preventing the problem of abuse.

Prevention of Sepsis

Hospital outbreaks are a severe problem for the medical system. Patients are at risk of developing infections during their stay in a healthcare facility. Sepsis is one of the most lethal infections, and a leading cause of death for patients when they contract it within hospitals' walls.

But with regular clinical surveillance, medical institutions can intervene to prevent sepsis from occurring and spreading.

Increased Security

To improve security measures, healthcare facilities must predict risks and anticipate when and where data security problems may arise. Staff openness and willingness to share problems should be encouraged. Use software to minimize data breaches.

Technical software can be used to sort, analyze, and automatically communicate information from clinical monitoring. As a result, hospital staff time can be spent on effective care for specific patients instead of routine work that surveillance softwares can do.

Custom software development solutions can be an effective tool for conducting mass clinical surveillance in public health. With the latest innovations, the process of analyzing information and transferring it to further levels can be simplified. Machine learning is rapidly evolving, and we can use it for this purpose.”

Vlad Medvedovsky at Proxet, custom software development solutions company

Clinical surveillance can lead to significant improvements in hospitals. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so each hospital must test and identify the specifics of surveillance within it.

The Main Benefits of a Health Surveillance System

What is surveillance used for in the system?

  • Build a strategy of public health surveillance systems.
  • Document progress toward specific health goals.
  • Set priorities.
  • Define the policy and strategy of the system.

The ideal qualities of a health surveillance system:

  • Primary collection of information through various system-approved methods.
  • Predicting the occurrence of health problems.
  • Confirmation of outbreaks of disease.
  • Investigation of outbreak causes.
  • Analysis of information, producing regular reports.
  • Give feedback to those who analyzed data using various methods to improve their performance in further surveillance.
  • Transmit received data to the next level in time for decision-making.

Monitoring and surveillance, is there any difference?

Monitoring and surveillance activities are a cornerstone of medical practice, providing information essential for assessing society’s health status and for monitoring trends. To understand the difference between monitoring and surveillance, let's first define the concepts.

Monitoring is the regular taking of measurements and their analysis to determine changes in society's state. Monitoring is carried out on an ongoing, background basis and allows us to determine the extent to which individual citizens' health or the general state of the environment changes over time. This type does not involve active intervention in the state of affairs.

“Traditionally, remote monitoring is seen as a short-to-medium term adjunct to regular care to empower patients for self-management following hospitalization. Long-term use is not usually feasible due to cost. However, based on our findings, we speculate that increasing the duration of the program to enable patients to develop self-competence may improve outcomes.”

— Dr. Stephen Agboola, Massachusetts General Hospital

Surveillance is ongoing information processing, and feedback on the information received. Practical and quick methods are used. Data sources can be directly related to diseases or factors affecting diseases. It can be data on mortality, morbidity, reports from laboratories, or even news about disease outbreaks.

Surveillance tools are an active part of monitoring when necessary. The information obtained during surveillance is often used by authorities to prevent disease spread and minimize the risks of further mutation.

Main Types of Surveillance

Authorities in different countries and cities at different levels (state or local) use specific medical surveillance methods. The methods are tailored to the treatment and prevention of the spread of disease among citizens. There are two main types of surveillance: passive and active.


Passive surveillance includes health care companies, hospitals, and laboratories routinely submitting reports on patient complaint statistics to public health authorities. The steady stream of reports facilitates ongoing analysis.


Active surveillance is when public health authorities periodically seek out the data from health care providers, nursing homes, and other community agencies to identify pockets of disease.

For example, city officials may check with doctors at the local hospital during an acute outbreak to see if patients have recently presented similar symptoms.

Pros and Cons

Passive surveillance can cover a vast network and is much easier to operate continuously. But there are disadvantages; passive surveillance tends to be plagued by underreporting and unreliable information.

Active surveillance should be used primarily to analyze diseases that have an increased risk of occurrence and progression in a particular population area. However, it demands considerable resources. The upside is that information obtained from active surveillance is often more accurate and complete.

Other Types

However, active and passive surveillance is not common in all countries. There are alternative classifications. Let's take a look at these as well.

Risk Factor

It helps to identify, weigh, and prevent risks in advance. Imagine that in a particular area, the permissible level of emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere can be checked annually to avoid breathing problems for city residents.


Public health uses the outbreak classification to determine the starting point of a pandemic. By interviewing the sick, doctors can learn the infection routes.


The Sentinel classification is beneficial when collecting data on general disease trends rather than specific cases. This classification includes preventive measures from health care service networks to notify the public about risk trends.


Public health authorities and the medical industry use the Syndromic classification to identify disease clusters in advance. With Syndromic, different types of syndromes can be identified before they occur.

Proxet is able and ready to provide software to improve medical surveillance. With years of experience by experts and developers in this field, Proxet can deliver success

Related Posts