Collecting medical countermeasure data

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Illinois Department of Health developed an online survey tool to collect medical countermeasure data, as required by CDC for the countermeasures report. Based on CDC's Medical Countermeasure Situational Report form, the survey tracks both those supplies the local health departments and hospitals have in stock and those supplies they have already distributed. In addition to meeting CDC's requirements, the resulting data provides timely information on the situation in the field; including identifying the items that are most used, as well as possible shortage locations. This allows Illinois' Office of Preparedness and Response to make timely decisions on when to push out its SNS supply during the response effort.

The survey is sent weekly to all of the state's local health departments and 156 hospitals that participate in the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP). To engage the participating agencies in this new process, teleconferences were held and detailed emails were sent. While compliance has not been 100%, the response has been very good.

Overall, this has been a very cost-effective project, requiring only limited staff time and a SurveyMonkey account. Illinois assigned an Americorp intern to keep the survey updated and to send it to the participating agencies weekly. Upon reply, the IT department downloads the results into a Microsoft Database and prints a report of potential shortages for the week. All perceived shortages are then verified with either the Local Health Department's Emergency Response Coordinator or the hospital's Preparedness Program Coordinator. Once the shortage is confirmed, the agency would then make an official request to the state.

Illinois has used the survey results to ascertain needs regarding: pre-positioning more antivirals and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the local level, knowing on-hand amounts of antivirals, determining distribution, and tracking product expirations. Illinois' previous method for collecting medical countermeasure data was based on a 48-hour Anthrax response. A pandemic situation and the need to pre-position pro rata allocations of supplies, however, means that a longer time period for response is acceptable. By developing the two plans, Illinois has the flexibility to use either plan or even something in-between based on the emergency at hand.

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