209629 Virtual Emergency Operations Center with GIS mapping tools for Indian Health Clinics in California

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:30 AM

W. Susan Cheng, MPH, PhDc , Native American Alliance for Emergency Preparedness, San Diego, CA
Edward Posnak, MS , Native American Alliance for Emergency Preparedness, San Diego, CA
Background: A major component of emergency preparedness is coordination of resources, personnel, and communication. Coordination with Indian Health Clinics (IHC) introduces unique challenges during major events. Indian Health Clinics not only service a broad geographic area and a culturally separate community, they must work within and parallel to the framework of local, state, and federal public health. Innovative tools are required to assist in these coordination and communication efforts.

Objective/purpose: To develop, implement, and evaluate a virtual Emergency Operations Center (vEOC) that will be accessible by the 38 IHC in California and interagency emergency preparedness partners.

Methods: We developed an online, virtual Emergency Operations Center tool comprised of GIS mapping of facilities, local area search capabilities, web conferencing, and real-time updating, viewing, searching, and filtering of clinic resources. The vEOC was tested on December 3, 2008 during a pandemic influenza mass vaccination exercise held in Southern and Northern California at five separate sites, and coordinated with interagency partners statewide.

Results: Agency partners and exercise site personnel were able to follow the progress of the exercise in real-time and post questions or comments. Coordination of the event included half hour updates on vaccines, supplies, and any complications. Communication among partners was enhanced by utilizing the vEOC.

Discussion/Conclusions: Specifically adapted for IHC with pre-populated data, the vEOC fulfills an important function in the coordination of emergency response and communication, and will improve emergency response during a real event.

Learning Objectives:
To evaluate the effectiveness of a virtual Emergency Operations Center in coordinating resources and personnel To measure the efficacy of online mapping and messaging tools on the virtual Emergency Operations Center in improving communications during an emergency or event

Keywords: Access to Care, Native Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the field of emergency preparedness for the last 7 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.