Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Software Predicts Flu Impact

Experts at Johns Hopkins experts are offering a free web-based software tool able to calculate and predict the impact on individual hospitals during a flu epidemic, bioterrorist attack, or other emergencies. The tool is able to account for the number of victims, germ-carrying wide patterns, available medical resources, and bacterial incubation periods.

“Biological, chemical, radiological or explosive attacks, can bring hospitals and local health agencies to their knees quickly overwhelming their ability to care for mass casualties,” said Gabor Kelen, M.D., Head of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins and Director of Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR). “Our software lets users put their own information into the modeling software, customize it to their needs, and predict what they will need to handle a surge in casualties.”

The software referred to as “Electronic Mass Casualty Assessment & Planning Scenarios” (EMCAPS), is able to predict the anticipated outcomes for disaster planning scenarios that have been developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The scenarios include patient estimates by injury type, estimated level of care required, and the need for decontamination facilities.

“While the planning scenarios developed by DHS form a good basis for constructing disaster exercises, EMCAPS adds value by giving hospitals a platform for providing a needed level of detail and accounting for local conditions that can influence healthcare demand and response in their regions,” according to Meridith Thanner, PhD, a CEPAR Research Associate and Program Manager with the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response.

The software developed by CEPAR and programmed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, is available for download free of cost from Johns Hopkins CEPAR web site at .