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Michigan system for opioid overdose surveillance


Community rapid response may reduce opioid overdose harms, but is hindered by the lack of timely data. To address this need, we created and evaluated the Michigan system for opioid overdose surveillance (SOS). SOS integrates suspected fatal overdose data from Medical Examiners (MEs), and suspected non-fatal overdoses (proxied by naloxone administration) from the Michigan Emergency Medical Services (EMS) into a web-based dashboard that was developed with stakeholder feedback. Authorised stakeholders can view approximate incident locations and automated spatiotemporal data summaries, while the general public can view county-level summaries. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance system evaluation guidelines, we assessed simplicity, flexibility, data quality, acceptability, sensitivity, positive value positive (PVP), representativeness, timeliness and stability of SOS. Data are usually integrated into SOS 1-day postincident, and the interface is updated weekly for debugging and new feature addition, suggesting high timeliness, stability and flexibility. Regarding representativeness, SOS data cover 100% of EMS-based naloxone adminstrations in Michigan, and receives suspected fatal overdoses from MEs covering 79.1% of Michigan’s population, but misses those receiving naloxone from non-EMS. PVP of the suspected fatal overdose indicator is nearly 80% across MEs. Because SOS uses pre-existing data, added burden on MEs/EMS is minimal, leading to high acceptability; there are over 300 authorised SOS stakeholders (~6 new registrations/week) as of this writing, suggesting high user acceptability. Using a collaborative, cross-sector approach we created a timely opioid overdose surveillance system that is flexible, acceptable, and is reasonably accurate and complete. Lessons learnt can aid other jurisdictions in creating analogous systems.

  • surveillance
  • epidemiology
  • descriptive epidemiology
  • drugs
  • poisoning

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