We have started a new line of research associated with the use of medical informatics in a number of applications. In one of these applications, we are interested in creating a prototype system capable of detecting in real time, biologic, chemical, nuclear, and radiological terrorism attacks as well as routinely supporting the local public health community with information regarding natural outbreaks of contagious and traumatic diseases.
This can be accomplished through syndromic surveillance of the Emergency Medical Dispatch(EMD) interrogatory data, collected by the computer aided dispatch (CAD) system at 911 Centers already in place. A set of tools will allow further analysis to determine possible causes (e.g. type of biological agents), the mechanism of transmission (for example, based on current atmospheric conditions and simulations of the dispersion of the plume), and possible actions (e.g. evacuation of a population center in danger). The system is intended to be used by local, regional, and national public health officials giving them advance information about possible man made or naturally occurring events, and helping them make decisions on possible actions to take.