Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response: Use of Information Technologies and Decision Support Systems [open pdf - 2MB]
"This project aimed to synthesize the evidence on information technologies and decision support systems (IT/DSSs) that may serve the information needs of clinicians and public health officials in the event of bioterrorism. To direct literature searches, a conceptual model was developed that specifies the decisions and tasks of clinicians and public health officials in the event of bioterrorism. Searches of MEDLINE® and of other relevant databases for articles describing or evaluating potentially relevant IT/DSSs were performed. Additional references were found from Internet searches (including 16 government agency Web sites), and bibliographies of retrieved articles. IT/DSSs were included that could potentially support the detection, diagnosis, management, prevention, treatment, guideline implementation, surveillance, reporting, and communication of information during a response to bioterrorism. All peer-reviewed articles that met the inclusion criteria were blinded to the study authors, and 2 investigators independently abstracted study information. Information from Web sites was abstracted by a single investigator. […] IT/DSSs have the potential to help clinicians and public health officials make better decisions regarding detection, diagnosis, management, prevention, surveillance, and communication during a bioterrorism event. However, few of these systems have been evaluated rigorously, and most were not specifically designed to address threats from bioterrorism. Furthermore, many of the systems have not been described in peer-reviewed literature. The lack of evaluative studies creates difficulties in assessing the usefulness of IT/DSSs. We note, however, that lack of evidence about effectiveness is not evidence for lack of effectiveness. Many of the systems we reviewed may be useful for response to bioterrorism and are reasonable candidates for further evaluation. Such evaluations would clarify their value both for response to bioterrorism and for the other purposes for which they were designed."
AHRQ Publication No. 02-E028
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: http://www.ahrq.gov/