EpiCore: Harnessing a Network of Health Professionals for Verification of Public Health Events

Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Mathematica Policy Research
Aug 23, 2017
Authors
So O'Neil, Divya Vohra, and Brenna Rabel

Key Findings:

  • EpiCore has brought together a network of health, animal, and environmental health professionals that extends around the global, particular in areas where diseases could spread most rapidly and harm large populations.
  • Network members bring diverse types of expertise and work in various sectors, including government and inter-government, non-governmental and non-profit, and private.
  • RFIs have included public health events in 95 countries, with known and unknown etiology and infectiousness, and affecting various susceptible populations.
  • On average, members responded to RFIs within nearly one day of issuance, verifying over a quarter of RFIs as either a public health event or non-event.
EpiCore is an innovative public health system designed to confirm the presence of outbreaks and other public health events faster than existing mechanisms alone. The system relies on a global membership network of human, animal, and environmental health professionals to provide information to verify events reported into it. In its first year and a half of operation, the EpiCore network has grown to 1,817 qualified members from a range of backgrounds. In addition, the system has sent out 484 requests for information (RFIs) about potential public health events to these members for verification. As the platform continues to evolve, EpiCore partners are reflecting on its progress to date and considering its path forward in terms of partnering with other surveillance networks and systems, as well as membership growth and training.