In a world first, ambulance services across England are all submitting data to Public Health England to help forecast public health issues in a national early warning system.
Known as the national ambulance syndromic surveillance system, the project refers to methods that rely on detection of individual and population health indicators that are discernible before confirmed diagnoses are made.
The system, which has used data from GPs and hospitals for a while now, identifies and predict trends as they are occurring. This often takes the form of analysing patient chief complaints as they present for care in hospital emergency rooms and other acute care settings.
Alex Elliot, of Public Health England, told members of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) Council that all ten English services were sharing data that was now included as part of the wider national service examining public health trends into issues such as seasonal respiratory viruses, asthma and bronchitis.