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Capitol Health Call
January 14, 2009

BioSense Program

JAMA. 2009;301(2):152. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.881

A redesign of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) BioSense biosurveillance system is unfinished and CDC officials cannot say how much it will ultimately cost, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported November 20.

BioSense began development in 2003, but complaints about its cost and lack of utility caused the agency to start a redesign in 2007. It is intended to be an electronic syndromic surveillance system that uses health-related data to identify patterns of disease symptoms prior to specific diagnosis. The CDC has spent about $184 million on BioSense, with the remaining upgrade to cost another $314 million, the GAO said in its report to the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations (

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