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TOWARDS A GLOBAL E-HEALTH FRAMEWORK FOR THE

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					TOWARDS A GLOBAL E-HEALTH FRAMEWORK FOR THE
SUPPORT OF PANDEMIC CONTROL

S. Hinske, P. Ray
Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany
University of New South Wales, Australia
p.ray@unsw.edu.au

Recent occurrences of epidemics like the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome’ (SARS) in
2003 or, the ‘Avian Influenza’ in 2005 clearly display the threat and seriousness of global
diseases. The steadily growing globalization makes it difficult to contain epidemics to a
certain region. Hence they are called Pandemics. Furthermore, global disease threats are not
limited to natural causes anymore. The possibility of terrorists using biological weapons has
become very real. Although many countries are now working on their own security
frameworks, a global problem of this magnitude requires a global solution. For these reasons,
a global framework must be designed and implemented. This paper reviews the current efforts
in evolving a global solution to the problem, and summarizes the basic principles of such a
framework for pandemic control.

Three major organizations working on this topic are WHO1, European Centre for Prevention
and Disease Control (ECDC)2 and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)3. They
have established and maintained numerous networks for different purposes. These
organizations and even some of their networks cover several topic areas. There are a number
of specialised content and application networks for disease surveillance and control, such as:
    1) Surveillance Network:
        -      Antimicrobial resistance information bank4,
        -      FluNet and RABNET5,
        -      Global Salm-Surv6,
        -      East Asia Network for HIV (EAN-HIV)
    2) Community Alert Network:
        -      Outbreak verification list7,
        -      Weekly Epidemiological Record8,
        -      Health Alert Network (HAN)9, USA
        -      APEC EINET
    3) Expert Systems
        -      US CDC NEDSS
    4) (Inter-) National Information Exchange and Communication Network
        -      Health InterNetwork (HIN)10, USA
        -      WHO GOARN
    5) Medical and Biological Research Networks:

1
  http://www.who.int/
2
  http://www.ecdc.eu.int/
3
  http://www.cdc.gov/
4
  http://oms2.b3e.jussieu.fr/arinfobank/
5
  http://gamapserver.who.int/GlobalAtlas/home.asp
6
  http://www.who.int/salmsurv/en/
7
  http://www.who.int/disease-outbreak-news/
8
  http://www.who.int/wer/
9
  http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/han/
10
   http://www.healthinternetwork.net/
                   -      Roland Koch Institute (RKI)11, Germany

An important part of the global e-Health framework for pandemic control, however, is to
establish an ‘Emergency Response Network’ (ERM) that is able to handle all occurring
diseases, especially unknown ones. This includes the above sub-networks each of which was
designed for a different purpose and phase during the outbreak cycle.

The proposed solution for a framework has to be realised both at the national and global
levels. While global networks provide information exchange based on certain standard
semantics, national level of the framework implements most of the controls. The focus of the
international implementation, however, is on information exchange, and it has the following
levels:
         Organization/Government Level
         Process Level
         Service/Application Level
         Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure Level

This paper discusses the issues at each of the above levels with respect to various
stakeholders, barriers and problems for implementation with reference to different phases of a
possible outbreak/disaster cycle, e.g.,
     Prevention
     Detection and Verification
     Early Response
     Sustained Response
     Recovery

The presentation will conclude with a demonstration of a geographical information system for
Pandemic Surveillance and Control software developed as part of a collaborative effort by the
Australian industry and universities.

Key words: Global e-Health Solutions, Pandemic Control, Interorganisational information
networks




11
     http://www.rki.de/

				
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