Interdisciplinary Information for Infectious Disease Response: Exercising for Improved Medical/Public Health Communication and Collaboration
Disaster Med Public Health Prep
Infectious disease threats like the novel coronavirus that emerged in late 2019 continue to demand an increase in preparedness and response capabilities. One capability that is both essential and consistently challenging is information sharing between responding organizations, particularly between public health agencies and health care providers. This policy analysis reviews the threat that infectious diseases continue to pose to the United States, and the role that the Hospital Preparedness Program can play in countering such threats. Current strategies for preparing for, and responding to, infectious disease outbreaks are also reviewed, noting some gaps that need to be addressed. Particular attention is given to challenges in information sharing that continue to hinder effective surveillance and response, despite advances in technology. The study looks at recommendations from biodefense organizations and experts in the field. It concludes with our recommendation that regulatory requirements and funding opportunities for health care institutions emphasize the importance of communication and training in relation to high consequence pathogens. We further recommend that providers in Ebola treatment hospitals be employed to train and educate providers in frontline hospitals in a 'train-the-trainer' model.