Conceptualisation and implementation of integrated disease surveillance globally: a scoping review

G. M. Flodgren*, J. E. Bezuidenhoudt, N. Alkanhal, S. Brinkwirth, A. C.K. Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objectives: The objective of this study was to examine the conceptualisation and operationalisation of Integrated Disease Surveillance (IDS) systems globally and the evidence for their effectiveness. Furthermore, to determine whether the recommendations made by Morgan et al. are supported by the evidence and what the evidence is to inform country development of IDS. Study design: The study incorporated a scoping review. Methods: This review summarised evidence meeting the following inclusion criteria: Participants: any health sector; Concept: IDS; and Context: global. We searched Medline, Embase, and Epistemonikos for English publications between 1998 and 2022. Standard review methods were applied. A bespoke conceptual framework guided the narrative analysis. This scoping review is part of a research programme with three key elements, with the other studies being a survey of the International Association of National Public Health Institutes members on the current status of their disease surveillance systems and a deeper analysis and case studies of the surveillance systems in seven countries, to highlight the opportunities and challenges of integration. Results: Eight reviews and five primary studies, which were assessed as being of low quality, were included, mostly examining IDS in Africa, the human sector, and communicable diseases. None reported on the effects on disease control or on the evolution of IDS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptions of IDS and of integration varied. Prerequisites of effective IDS systems mostly related to the adequacy of core functions and resourcing requirements. Laws or regulations supporting system integration and data sharing were not addressed. The provision of core functions and resourcing requirements were described as inadequate, financing as non-sustainable, and governance as poor. Enablers included active data sharing, close cooperation between agencies, clear reporting channels, integration of vertical programs, increased staff training, and adopting mobile reporting. Whilst the conceptual framework for IDS and Morgan et al.'s proposed principles were to some extent reflected in the highlighted priorities for IDS in the literature, the evidence base remains weak. Conclusions: Available evidence is fragmented, incomplete, and of poor quality. The review found a lack of robust evaluation studies on the impact of IDS on disease control. Whilst a lack of evidence does not imply a lack of benefit or effect, it should signal the need to evaluate the process and impact of integration in the future development of surveillance systems. A common IDS definition and articulation of the parts that constitute an IDS system are needed. Further robust impact evaluations, as well as country reviews and evaluations of their IDS systems, are required to improve the evidence base.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

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© 2024 The Authors


  • Disease control
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Integrated disease surveillance
  • Reviews


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