NewsForge: OpenEMed Helps Detect Epidemics--And Bioterrorism
Jan 16, 2003, 02:30 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Miller)
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"'OpenEmed is a distributed healthcare information system built
around the OMG distributed object specifications and the HL7 (and
other) data standards and is written in Java for platform
portability,' says the first sentence on the project's home page.
Its objective is to aggregate data from clinics, emergency rooms,
pharmacies, and individual physicians so that epidemics or
bioterrorism attacks can be rapidly spotted and, hopefully, stopped
before they affect large numbers of people.
"'The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a DoD agency, funded this
work as part of their biodefense network,' says project leader
"To demonstrate the kind of situation where OpenEmed can be of
value, Forslund points out a well-documented 1993 Cryptosporidium
outbreak in Madison, Wisconsin that reportedly made 403,000 people
ill and killed 100. Forslund says, 'The occurrence was detected by
a pharmacist who noticed people buying a lot of Imodium at his
store. Before that, there were a lot of calls about diarrhea [to
local doctors and hospitals]. If people had connected these, the
disease could have been detected earlier...'"