Biosense is the first foray into the field of bioinformatics for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Developed in late 2003 as a part of the counter-terrorism initiative by the U.S. government, Biosense functions as a biosurveillance system to aid the nation’s emergency preparedness.
Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 defines biosurveillance as the “active data-gathering, analysis, and interpretation of biosphere data related to disease activity and threats to human and animal health to achieve early warning, detection, and situational awareness.”
According to the CDC, more than 500 health care facilities are currently uploading data to the Biosense program. As diseases appear in a hospital, doctors or technicians upload the information to Biosense, which then functions as a quantitative display of diseases across America. Through a visual interface, users can gather geographic data and follow trends.
Currently, the CDC is partnering with the Geocoded Interoperable Population Summary Exchange to allow for summary level data to be input into Biosense. This will allow for more detailed reports and better information exchange.