For many life-threatening conditions, early diagnosis and treatment are synonymous with improved outcomes. While syndromic surveillance technology has long been used to detect impending epidemics and bioterrorism threats, widespread implementation of electronic medical records means these techniques can also be applied to areas such as patient care and safety, quality improvement, and research.

Using near-real-time data feeds from Mayo Clinic's electronic medical record and the intensive care unit (METRIC) datamart, the laboratory of Vitaly Herasevich, M.D., Ph.D., and Brian W. Pickering, M.B., B.Ch., has developed and tested a number of highly sensitive and specific electronic alerts (sniffers).

The laboratory has developed and validated sniffers for acute lung injury, ventilator-induced lung injury and septic shock. Sniffers for ventilator-associated pneumonia, acute kidney injury and a number of other conditions are under development.