Public Health Preparedness Informatics Infrastructure. A Case Study in Integrated Surveillance and Response: 2004–2005 National Influenza Vaccine Shortage
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Effective Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) requires integrated information systems supporting key PHEP activities, including surveillance, alerting, situational awareness, emergency planning and response, resource assessment and management. These systems are optimized when embedded within an informatics framework supporting a community of information trading partners engaged in routine health information exchange. Seasonal influenza (flu) in the USA typically peaks in January-February and accounts for over 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually. Vaccination is the primary method of prevention and the optimal preseason time for vaccination is September-November. The October 5, 2004, announcement of significant influenza vaccine shortfalls triggered a national PHEP event, requiring a full array of integrated and heightened PHEP activities at the state and local levels. The presence of an established integrated informatics framework for health information exchange in NY State conveyed significant advantages in advanced preparedness and just-in-time response to the event. This paper describes how the framework supported and enhanced the efficacy of NY’s response to a real-life hazard, details related performance metrics, and presents lessons learned from the response.
KeywordsHealth Preparedness Informatics Surveillance Response Influenza vaccine shortage
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