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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making

, 12:99

First Online: 06 September 2012Received: 22 May 2012Accepted: 31 August 2012


BackgroundEmerging public health threats often originate in resource-limited countries. In recognition of this fact, the World Health Organization issued revised International Health Regulations in 2005, which call for significantly increased reporting and response capabilities for all signatory nations. Electronic biosurveillance systems can improve the timeliness of public health data collection, aid in the early detection of and response to disease outbreaks, and enhance situational awareness.

MethodsAs components of its Suite for Automated Global bioSurveillance SAGES program, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory developed two open-source, electronic biosurveillance systems for use in resource-limited settings. OpenESSENCE provides web-based data entry, analysis, and reporting. ESSENCE Desktop Edition provides similar capabilities for settings without internet access. Both systems may be configured to collect data using locally available cell phone technologies.

ResultsESSENCE Desktop Edition has been deployed for two years in the Republic of the Philippines. Local health clinics have rapidly adopted the new technology to provide daily reporting, thus eliminating the two-to-three week data lag of the previous paper-based system.

ConclusionsOpenESSENCE and ESSENCE Desktop Edition are two open-source software products with the capability of significantly improving disease surveillance in a wide range of resource-limited settings. These products, and other emerging surveillance technologies, can assist resource-limited countries compliance with the revised International Health Regulations.

KeywordsElectronic biosurveillance Software development Public health Disease outbreak Resource-limited settings Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1472-6947-12-99 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Timothy C Campbell - Charles J Hodanics - Steven M Babin - Adjoa M Poku - Richard A Wojcik - Joseph F Skora - Jacqueli


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