Online Program

JEDI -- Development of a joint electronic health data management and decision support interface for an Ebola Treatment Unit in Liberia

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:50 a.m. - 11:10 a.m.

Wilson Wang, MD MPH MPA, International Rescue Committee, New York, NY
Paul Amendola, MPH, International Rescue Committee, New York, NY
Ernest Ostro, International Rescue Committee, New York, NY
Chip Barnett, MS, MPH, International Rescue Committee, New York, NY
Allan Freedman, International Rescue Committee, New York, NY
OBJECTIVES: The Ebola crisis of 2014 led to massive needs for Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs).  The desire to promote the highest standards of care for the very sick was thwarted by limited time of health providers in stifling hot personal protective gear and fear of compiling and manipulating the medical record, which was regarded as a source of infection.

With funding from OFDA, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) began to prepare for ETU care in Monrovia, Liberia, August 2014. The IRC invested significant human and financial resources to produce an electronic health data management tool that could monitor health service quality measures and simplify record keeping and evidence-based decision-making by stressed clinicians.

METHODS:  A team consisting of IRC clinical, data management, technology and partnership specialists identified electronic health data management as a key aspect of IRC's Ebola intervention.  The planned opening date for the ETU combined with the desire to have the system operating from startup, gave the team only six weeks to develop and test the system. Based primarily on the urgency of need, the IRC decided to partner with the not-for-profit company VecnaCares for its experience with electronic health data management in sub-Saharan Africa and its multi-functional hardware, the CliniPak.

RESULTS: The IRC and VecnaCares produced an electronic health data and decision support interface within the scheduled timeline. The urgency of the need combined with the uniqueness of the endeavor produced a product that fulfilled most of the organizations' objectives, but with trade-offs related to functionality, ease of use, and ability to share the software with other implementing partners.  In the end, Ebola cases declined so swiftly that the decision was made not to open the ETU.  Though the system was never used with actual Ebola patients, it remains a valuable model for Ebola response and other applications.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Program planning
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the history of medical record keeping in Ebola epidemics Describe the logic of electronic data management and decision support in an Ebola Treatment Unit Describe key considerations in creating electronic health data management systems in resource poor contexts

Keyword(s): Technology, Performance Measurement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a key member of the team that developed one of the first electronic data management and decision support tools for Ebola treatment facilities.
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.