The RODS Open Source Project
Open Source Outbreak and Disease Surveillance Software

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Introduction

RODS is NEDSS (now PHIN)-compliant software for building public health surveillance systems.

The RODS Open Source Project is intended to be a collaboration involving academia, open source developers, health departments, hospitals and medical centers, foundations, and industries whose objective is to rapidly increase the level of deployment of syndromic surveillance by removing one of the barriers to progress--namely the availability of high quality, well supported software.

RODS examines aggregate and de identified data routinely collected by clinical and other information systems automatically and in real time for trends and anomalies suggestive of disease outbreaks. It is used by health departments or urban regions to monitor clinical data, data about sales of over the counter medications, and other types of data. At present, the clinical data comprise de-identified emergency department visit abstracts and the software monitors increases in patients with symptoms of flu, respiratory illnesses, diarrhea, and skin rashes. Using data that indicates spatial distributions of cases, RODS software can assist public health officials to identify the location of an outbreak. A spike in hospital admissions from a neighborhood, or a message that something is strange by RODS standards, could merely indicate the presence of a flu bug -- or it could mean that a chemical or biological weapon has been released.

RODS is written in JAVA as a set of software modules (using JDK 1.5 and J2EE.) As a modular system, a subset of RODS modules can be used within existing public health surveillance projects or all of the modules can be used to create an end-to-end disease outbreak and surveillance system. Ready-to-use software packages, hardware prerequisites, software prerequisites and source code is available from the download page.

A list of publications describing the RODS system can be found here.

 

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