IBM, in collaboration with the Nuclear Threat Initiative's Global Health and Security Initiative and the Middle East Consortium on Infectious Disease Surveillance (MECIDS), has created a unique technology that standardizes the method of sharing health information and automates the analysis of infectious disease outbreaks, in order to help contain diseases and minimize their impact.
This technology provides public health organizations with the right decision-making tools to implement a fast, effective response to infectious disease outbreaks – even across geographic and political boundaries. PHIAD uses near-real time information to facilitate fast response and enables the secure exchange of data on both national and international levels with appropriate protection of privacy at all levels.
With PHIAD, researchers at IBM’s Almaden and Haifa labs have virtually eliminated the time-consuming, tedious tasks common in the public health community by creating an electronic platform that allows them to focus on critical tasks such as detecting emerging public health trends, pinpointing potential outbreaks and performing sophisticated analysis.
Dan Pelino, General Manager, IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry said, This collaboration writes the newest chapter in a story of healthcare information technology innovation. Built upon the same, open-standards-based Health Information Exchange architecture that increasingly enables the use of electronic health records around the world, this new technology will take transformation higher, improving critical health information sharing between nations in an increasingly global economy – and helping the world’s healthcare community to focus on prevention, wellness and the safety of patients and populations at large.
Currently, MECIDS members exchange information mostly on paper. By moving to a standards-based model of secure electronic information exchange that integrates public health reporting with the creation of clinical records, members can easily share and exchange key data to monitor and respond to potential outbreaks. The collected data can easily feed into IBM’s pandemic disease modeling system, Spatio Temporal Epidemiological Modeler, which enables public health officials to visualize outbreak prevention strategies and perform forecast modeling.
Terence Taylor, Nuclear Threat Initiative's Vice President for Global Health and Security said, Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Global Health and Security Initiative is working in some of the most complicated regions of the world to help develop regional disease surveillance networks such as MECIDS that can be the building blocks for improving the quality and effectiveness of global disease surveillance. IBM's PHIAD system will enhance the existing regional collaboration at several levels and allow health professionals to stay a step ahead of potentially dangerous disease outbreaks.
The MECIDS project will use SNOMED CT® (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms), an international standard that provides a core terminology for electronic health records. The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO) has waived license fees for use of SNOMED CT in this project on humanitarian grounds. This contribution enables MECIDS countries to standardize public health data so it can be used and consistently interpreted across borders and different health organizations.