Public health surveillance and the data, information, knowledge, intelligence and wisdom paradigm

Choi et al.

This article points out deficiencies in present-day definitions of public health surveillance, which include data collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination, but not public health action. Controlling a public health problem of concern requires a public health response that goes beyond information dissemination. It is undesirable to have public health divided into data generation processes (public health surveillance) and data use processes (public health response), managed by two separate groups (surveillance experts and policy-makers). It is time to rethink the need to modernize the definition of public health surveillance, inspired by the authors’ enhanced Data, Information, Knowledge, Intelligence and Wisdom model. Our recommendations include expanding the scope of public health surveillance beyond information dissemination to comprise actionable knowledge (intelligence); mandating surveillance experts to assist policy- makers in making evidence-informed decisions; encouraging surveillance experts to become policy-makers; and incorporating public health literacy training – from data to knowledge to wisdom – into the curricula for all public health professionals. Work on modernizing the scope and definition of public health surveillance will be a good starting point.

Idioma del artículo
Opinion and analysis