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The word means a lookout. In public health, it is the process of systematic surveillance for a sentinel event, such as the first case of a contagious disease that may (or may not) be expected to occur. In primary care or family medical practice, a sentinel physician is one who maintains special surveillance among the practice population for the first patient who presents with clinical evidence of diseases of interest. See also sentinel surveillance.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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