General

What is Sara Alert™?

Sara Alert™ is an open-source, web-based application designed for public health officials to efficiently monitor exposed individuals at risk of developing a disease of interest, as well as to monitor cases to determine when it is safe to discontinue isolation. Sara Alert™ is currently configured to support monitoring individuals exposed to or sick with novel coronavirus 2019 disease (COVID-19).

 

Who uses Sara Alert™?

Sara Alert™ is designed for use by federal, state, and local public health workers and leadership, as well as the subjects being monitored.

Is Sara Alert™ designed for COVID-19 only?

No. The capability is disease-independent so it can be adapted for future outbreaks.

How does Sara Alert™ work?

For Monitoring Exposed Individuals
Sara Alert™ enables public health officials to enroll individuals at risk of developing COVID-19, for example, individuals from affected areas or contacts of known cases. Once enrolled, individuals enter their (and other members of their household) symptoms daily through their preferred platform (i.e., web browser via mobile or desktop, text-based, voice), providing public health officials real-time insights. The information is stored in a secure database and displayed on monitoring line lists so that public health officials can quickly and efficiently identify individuals requiring care coordination or follow up for non-response.

For Monitoring Ill Individuals
Sara Alert™ enables public health officials to enroll individuals who have developed disease, like COVID-19, who need to be monitored to determine when it is safe to discontinue isolation. Once enrolled, individuals enter their symptoms daily through their preferred platform (i.e., web browser via mobile or desktop, text-based, voice), providing public health officials real-time insights. The information is stored in a secure database and displayed on monitoring line lists so that public health officials can quickly and efficiently identify individuals who may discontinue isolation.

 

What are the benefits of Sara Alert™?

Sara Alert™ modernizes the public health monitoring and response system by providing increased efficiency in tracking potential cases, leading to earlier containment of the virus and reduction of burden on public health resources.

 

When will Sara Alert™ be made available?

Sara Alert™ is currently in use by several pilot jurisdictions. Please contact us regarding availability of the Sara Alert™ tool at saraalert@mitre.org.

 

Is there a cost associated with use of the application?

Because of MITRE’s unique position as a not-for-profit that operates federally funded research and development centers, Sara Alert™ will be made available in the public domain, free of charge, to public health agencies.

 

How did MITRE ensure the application would meet the needs of public health agencies?

Sara Alert™ was rapidly developed side-by-side with key public health partners to ensure the application reflected the monitoring, security, and privacy needs of local, state, and federal entities that monitor, detect and respond to public health threats.

Security & Privacy

How will Sara Alert™ ensure privacy of the individual?

The application has granular record control and encryption, at the single record-level and single user level to meet data use laws and policies. Different roles are available in the system that restrict access to individual level information; this follows the best practice of restricting access to information to only users who require it.  A user may also only access records that belong to their assigned jurisdiction. 

 

What organization will host the Sara Alert™ monitoring database?

The Sara Alert™ monitoring database will be hosted by the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) on the AIMS platform. APHL works to strengthen laboratory systems serving the public’s health in the United States and globally. APHL represents state and local governmental health laboratories in the United States. Public health laboratories monitor, detect and respond to health threats.

 

Where will the data be stored following the monitoring period? 

The information will be purged from the Sara Alert™ database following a specified amount of time after the monitoring period has ended. Public health agencies can export records that are scheduled for deletion in order to comply with local records retention requirements.

Importing

Is there an importing option for uploading information (e.g. a line-list of travelers)? What format is required for each if applicable?

Yes, Sara Alert™ currently offers the ability to import monitoree information in two formats.

Epi-X Notification Spreadsheet
Sara Alert™ can import data from the spreadsheets distributed to jurisdictions via Epi-X notifications. The Epi-X notification spreadsheet import populates a limited subset of Sara Alert™ enrollment data elements noted in the FAQ below. After import, the record can be updated with additional information by a public health user.

Sara Alert Format Spreadsheet
Sara Alert™ can populate all enrollment data elements using the Sara Alert™ template.  This functionality supports jurisdictions who wish to use Sara Alert™ and are currently maintaining case or contact information in other systems that can export to a .CSV formatted file, such as REDCap®

The most current import template formatting guidance is available in the user interface.

 

How is the information from Epi-X notification spreadsheets imported file format requirements?

The current field names in the spreadsheets sent via Epi-X map to existing Sara Alert™ enrollment fields as follows:

 

Epi-X Fields (as of 2/17) Sara Alert™
Local-ID State/Local ID
Flight No Flight or Vessel Number
DGMQ ID CDC ID
Language Primary Language
Arrival Date Date of Arrival
Arrival City Port of Entry into USA
Last Name Last Name
First Name First Name
Date of Birth Date of Birth
Permanent Street Address Home Address 1
Permanent City Home Town/City
Permanent State or Country Home State
Postal Code Home Zip
Temporary Street Address 1 Destination in USA Where Monitored Address 1
Temporary City 1 Destination in USA Where Monitored Town/City
Temporary State 1 Destination in USA Where Monitored State
Temporary Postal Code 1 Destination in USA Where Monitored Zio
Phone Number 1 Primary Telephone Number
Phone Number 2 Secondary Telephone Number
Email 1 Email Address
Countries Visited with Widespread Transmission in Past 14 Days Exposure Location
Departure Date Date of Departure
Lived in Same Household or Had Other Contact with a Person Sick with disease in Past 14 Days Close Contact with a known case
Worked in Health Care Facility or Laboratory in Country with Widespread Transmission in Past 14 Days Was in Health Care Facility with Known Cases

Exporting

Is there an exporting function?

Yes, there are two export functions currently available.

Monitoring Line List Export
Users can currently export a .CSV file of the following data elements: Monitoree Name, Assigned Jurisdiction, State/Local ID, Sex, Date of Birth, End of Monitoring Period Date, Exposure Risk Level, Monitoring Plan, Latest Symptom Report Date, Transferred Data (if applicable). Reason for Closure (if applicable), Latest Public Health Action (if applicable), Status (e.g., name of line list), and Closed Date (if applicable).

Sara Alert Format
The Sara Alert™ formatted export allows users to export a .CSV file of all enrollment data elements in a Sara Alert™ record. Enrollment data elements include demographics, contact information, travel history, planned travel, and potential exposure information.

An expanded export functionality that will allow users to export a .CSV file of all data elements in a Sara Alert™ record, including symptom report history, is anticipated to be released in mid-to-late April.

 

What will the exporting capability support?

The current export capability exports the following data elements: Monitoree Name, Assigned Jurisdiction, State/Local ID, Sex, Date of Birth, End of Monitoring Period Date, Exposure Risk Level, Monitoring Plan, and Latest Symptom Report Date.

The expanded export functionality will include all data elements in a Sara Alert™ record and is anticipated to be released in mid-April.

 

Will you be able to export just the line list or all data (including all symptom data reported)?

Initially, Sara Alert™ will only export the line list data. Because we are designing this application to support your workflow, please let us know what is valuable to you. For example:

  • Would you like to be able to export all available data fields for each monitoree in each line list (e.g., symptomatic, non-reporting, asymptomatic, closed)?
  • Would you like to export all data for all monitorees across line lists (e.g., symptomatic, non-reporting, asymptomatic, closed).
  • What fields do you need to be supported in an export?

You can provide your feedback and preferences by sending an email to saraalert@mitre.org so that we can capture those requirements.

Notifications

What alerts are generated for monitorees?

For Monitoring Exposed Individuals
Currently, individuals who have not reported within a defined timeframe (e.g., 24 hours) will appear on the yellow “non-reporting” line list. Public health officials can review this line list and prioritize follow up to collect missing reports.

Similarly, individuals who reported symptoms on their last report appear on the red “symptomatic” tab.

For Monitoring Ill Individuals
Currently, individuals who have not reported within a defined timeframe (e.g., 24 hours) will appear on the yellow “non-reporting” line list. Public health officials can review this line list and prioritize follow up to collect missing reports.

Customization at the Local Level

Is the symptom list customizable within a jurisdiction? 

Yes. State, territorial, local, or tribal jurisdictions  can add symptoms to the minimal set of symptom assessed on the daily report by working with the Sara Alert™ administrator. Each jurisdiction will be required to include the minimal set of symptoms (currently, subjective fever, cough, and shortness of breath) as defined by CDC guidance. From that minimal set of symptoms, state jurisdictions can add additional symptoms to the minimal set. Local jurisdictions can add additional symptoms to the set defined by their state.

Transfers

For transferring jurisdictions, what if the receiving jurisdiction isn’t using the Sara Alert™ application?

If a jurisdiction does not participate in Sara Alert™, that jurisdiction name will not appear in the jurisdiction drop-down list. Thus, you will not be able to transfer the record to that jurisdiction using Sara Alert™. A manual transfer will need to be completed.

Concurrent Use for Different Diseases

If a measles outbreak occurs at the same time we are monitoring for the coronavirus, can Sara Alert™ support both diseases?

Sara Alert™ is configurable for different diseases, but each instance can only support one disease at a time. If a separate database is stood up, the Sara Alert™ functionality could be used to support a different disease. Establishing a separate instance of Sara Alert™ for a different disease would require identification of resources and support for the separate instance.

Contact Us

(246) 462-3523

1234 Divi St. #1000, San Francisco, CA

Monday-Friday: 8am – 5pm

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