The World's Most Promising Survey-Based Health Surveillance System

Explore the transformative impact of the Sharik Health Indicators Surveillance System (SHISS), developed by the Sharik Association for Research and Studies in Saudi Arabia. This article discusses SHISS's innovation in survey-based health surveillance, its rapid data analysis, scientific validation, and significant contributions to public health monitoring, positioning it as a leader in global health surveillance systems.

May 5, 2024 - 08:44
May 5, 2024 - 08:46
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The World's Most Promising Survey-Based Health Surveillance System
The World's Most Advanced Health Surveillance System

In 2020, an influential research article was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, introducing the "Sharik" Health Indicators Surveillance System (SHISS). This system has since sparked significant advancements in the field of survey-based health surveillance. As one of the journal's most viewed articles, it has garnered over 400,000 views since its publication.

The SHISS, developed by the not-for-profit Sharik Association for Research and Studies in Saudi Arabia, represents a pinnacle of excellence and innovation in public health monitoring and surveillance. Since its initial introduction, SHISS has inspired the creation of over nine research articles published in top-tier medical peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, SHISS has launched an advanced health surveillance dashboard that offers descriptive statistics and tracks changes over time in key health variables, such as the quarterly national prevalence of smoking beginning in Q1 2020.

Remarkably, the SHISS dashboard has collected and displayed more than 92,000 records from survey interviews in Saudi Arabia, making it the largest survey-based health surveillance system in the Middle East and one of the top ten globally. In terms of data analysis and results publication speed—a key performance indicator for quality surveillance systems—SHISS could be ranked first worldwide. For instance, data from the second half of 2023 was published in the most recent update in January 2024, a stark contrast to the one or two years it typically takes other systems to publish their findings.

Scientifically, the SHISS uses a research methodology validated for consistency and sensitivity, distinguishing it as possibly the only survey-based system validated as a whole for internal consistency, as documented in a peer-reviewed journal article titled "Check SHISS Method Validation."

When asked how they achieved such high levels of excellence and speed in an industry known for its slow operations, the Sharik Association for Research and Studies attributed it to the meticulous execution, speed, and consistency considered during the SHISS's design process. "SHISS operates like a production line with precise steps and acceleration kits. We collect data using ZDataCloud, which ensures data governance, quality, and appropriate sampling. We then process this data using an automated analysis package, allowing us to quickly analyze new data and ensure its quality compared to previous datasets. Results are moved to the dashboard immediately after analysis approval, typically within a day or two—an improvement from the weeks it took when we first started," they explained.

In terms of cost, the Sharik Association for Health Research has consistently worked to reduce the expenses of each SHISS wave, now offering a full year's data at a fraction of the cost of any other national survey in the country.

Finally, Sharik provides open access to the data for all researchers in Saudi Arabia and has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with two national universities to facilitate data sharing for publication purposes.

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