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Original Article
A Population Health Surveillance Theory
Farouk El Allaki, Michel Bigras-Poulin, Pascal Michel, André Ravel
Epidemiol Health. 2012;34:e2012007.   Published online November 30, 2012
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AbstractAbstract PDF
<sec><title>OBJECTIVES</title><p>Despite its extensive use, the term "Surveillance" often takes on various meanings in the scientific literature pertinent to public health and animal health. A critical appraisal of this literature also reveals ambiguities relating to the scope and necessary structural components underpinning the surveillance process. The authors hypothesized that these inconsistencies translate to real or perceived deficiencies in the conceptual framework of population health surveillance. This paper presents a population health surveillance theory framed upon an explicit conceptual system relative to health surveillance performed in human and animal populations.</p></sec><sec><title>METHODS</title><p>The population health surveillance theory reflects the authors' system of thinking and was based on a creative process.</p></sec><sec><title>RESULTS</title><p>Population health surveillance includes two broad components: one relating to the human organization (which includes expertise and the administrative program), and one relating to the system <italic>per se</italic> (which includes elements of design and method) and which can be viewed as a process. The population health surveillance process is made of five sequential interrelated steps: 1) a trigger or need, 2) problem formulation, 3) surveillance planning, 4) surveillance implementation, and 5) information communication and audit.</p></sec><sec><title>CONCLUSIONS</title><p>The population health surveillance theory provides a systematic way of understanding, organizing and evaluating the population health surveillance process.</p></sec>


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