Infection Watch Live – A real-time, geospatial mapping tool of hospital triage data for public consumption
Adam van Dijk MSc, Matt McPherson, Chris Sambol, Kieran M. Moore M.D.
- To inform health professionals and the public directly about real-time utilization of local Emergency Departments for respiratory and gastrointestinal illness to enable enhanced communication and collaboration between Public Health and health care workers.
- Most health units do not incorporate spatial information into disease surveillance there is a growing body of knowledge that indicates such data can be useful in tracking the spread of certain diseases.
- The prompt detection of respiratory and gastrointestinal related illnesses are of particular importance due to the rapid transmission and potential burden on the community.
Fig. 2 – Enlarged map of respiratory activity for children 0-4 years of age on Nov. 17th subdivided by forward sortation area (postal boundary).
Fig. 1 – Main landing page of Infection Watch Live showing real-time maps of illness activity.
- Publicly accessible website branded as Infection Watch Live (IWL) which will publish local maps. The interface is a web-based GIS application developed using ESRI ArcGIS Server.
- System uses anonymized, non-identifiable, real-time, emergency department respiratory and gastrointestinal visit data from an already existing real-time Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance (EDSS) system in Kingston, Ontario.
- Expected users include: medical officers of health, nurses, physicians, hospital administrators, long-term care homes, schools, child care, employers, EMS and local citizens.
- Key functionalities:
- Today’s Maps – snapshot view of current activity (Fig. 1 & 2)
- Advanced Maps – simple GIS interface (Fig. 3)
- Illness Trends – animated historical activity
- WMS – ability to consume data in external applications
- Prevention and Info – enables the community
- Initial user feedback came from nurses, public health professionals, community members, parents, and infection control practitioners.
- Infection Watch Live was given a 3.9 average rating by users (scale: 0 = not very useful – 5 = very useful)
- Top three uses for IWL were: general community illness update, knowledge will guide me in the care of my family, knowledge will aid in infection prevention
Fig. 3 – Screen shot of the advanced maps section on Infection Watch Live which gives users more control over how they view local, illness activity maps.
- Enables informed decision making in the community.
- Provides the community with current Emergency Department utilization data for respiratory and gastrointestinal illness.
- Representing data by neighborhood enables the community to react to current respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in their area.
- Expected public launch on January 1, 2009
- Ongoing performance monitoring and user testing
- Continue engaging local stakeholders
- Possible future integration of additional data sources
- Expansion to other health units
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Neil Watson, Marie Alexander, Paul Beach, Sevaan Franks, Dillan Fernando, Niall Wallace, Justin Chenier and Ryan Backus – all of whom provided considerable help and expertise in the development of this application.
Contact Information: Adam van Dijk - [email protected]