Partnerships for Innovation
This map represents the geographic origin or location of daily news articles related to H1N1 flu. The map is generated out of ORISE's Auto-INFORM database, which is an automated data-mining program developed for the CDC that is used to monitor news articles, blogs and Web content. The system codes the information at 100 times the speed of humans and provides summaries and analyses of the content being collected. (Click image for full-sized version)
In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 5,514 hospitalized cases of the H1N1 flu virus resulting in 353 deaths in the U.S. The increase in confirmed cases of H1N1 prompted national worry and response from the federal government, including the distribution of Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) materials, around-the-clock news monitoring, and the development of tailored response materials to help combat the virus.
As reports of confirmed H1N1 flu increased, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) collaborated with the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion (DHQP) to prepare communities for public health emergencies. ORISE was most recently recognized with DHQP for their collaborative work to prepare one local community on how to respond in the event of a pandemic flu, such as H1N1.
John Dwyer, an emergency response planner in Champaign, Ill., participated in an ORISE-led community preparedness workshop in Indianapolis, Ind. In a letter to ORISE, Dwyer cited how his community ‘had a sense of urgency, displayed confidence in our actions, and, more importantly, showed a huge level of trust with each other,’ while executing plans to combat the H1N1 flu.
Champaign County now has a website devoted to pandemic flu response and a call center hotline, which has received thousands of calls in regard to H1N1. Dwyer commented on ‘how great the experience with DHQP and ORISE’ has been, but that benefits of the preparedness exercises were invisible until now.
‘We feel so much better about our plans and the relationships we have developed since those three days in Indianapolis.’ Dwyer wrote. ‘We would not be where we are today without your support.’
ORISE's assistance in the fight against H1N1 is not limited to the local stage as its media monitoring services and use of AutoINFORM (Auto Immunization News FOR Managers) has kept the CDC up-to-speed on the latest news and media trends.
For seven years, the CDC and its National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease (NCIRD) have engaged in a media analysis project with ORISE to track trends and assist in the quick response to emerging immunization-related issues.
To monitor the most recent messages regarding H1N1, AutoINFORM scans newspapers, blogs and Twitter. Data collected are then compiled into reports and each morning the CDC receives up-to-the-minute information regarding the H1N1 media coverage to facilitate the agency’s timely response to public concerns. Typically, news monitored daily by AutoINFORM for the CDC picks up around 100 articles, but the number of articles greatly increased with monitoring of H1N1. On April 24, 2009, AutoINFORM generated less than 500 hits on H1N1, but by April 26, the number had skyrocketed to 6,000.
In addition to the media reports being sent to the CDC, ORISE is working with DHQP to tailor previously prepared pandemic flu response materials to address H1N1.
One of those materials, a 911 call center workbook, was shortened from around 200 pages to six pages after a request from the CDC for a condensed version that could be quickly read by call center staffers. The workbook addresses potential problems in the event of an emergency, such as call center staff members being sick themselves, or the call center being overwhelmed with calls because of short-staffing.
Champaign County officials worked through a simulated public health emergency at an ORISE-led pandemic flu preparedness table-top exercise in Indianapolis.