Recent advances in information and communication technologies have made the development and operation of complex disease surveillance systems technically feasible, and many systems have been proposed to interpret diverse data sources for health-related signals. Implementing these systems for daily use and efficiently interpreting their output, however, remains a technical challenge.
This thesis presents a method for understanding disease surveillance systems structurally, examines four existing systems, and discusses the implications of developing such systems. The discussion is followed by two papers. The first paper describes the design of a national outbreak detection system for daily disease surveillance. It is currently in use at the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control. The source code has been licenced under GNU v3 and is freely available. The second paper discusses methodological issues in computational epidemiology, and presents the lessons learned from a software development project in which a spatially explicit micro-meso-macro model for the entire Swedish population was built based on registry data.