State Health and Human Services Group Tracks Stockpile Shipments Online
Redlands, California―ESRI, the world’s leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, announces the successful implementation of a GIS-based inventory management application for disaster preparedness for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NHHS). Created by ESRI business partner GeoAge, Inc., Stockpile Management Receiving and Tracking (SMRT) is a Web-based, secure system that combines the functionality of an inventory management application with the analytical power of GIS.
Built with ESRI ArcIMS and Microsoft .NET, SMRT gives officials the ability to map Nebraska’s health and distribution facilities, display real-time inventories for each site, and relate the information to a spatial overlay of census population data. When a specific area is affected by a health emergency, the census data is used to determine population and dosage requirements for that area. Inventory access makes it easy to locate the needed supplies and send them to the closest receiving site. ArcIMS is the ESRI solution for delivering dynamic maps and GIS data and services via the Web.
“During an emergency, communication and coordination are two of the biggest challenges to overcome. The application is an effective tool for enhancing communication and the coordination of multiple tasks to effectively respond to public health emergencies in the state of Nebraska,” says Robert Leopold, deputy director, Department of Regulation and Licensure, Nebraska Health and Human Services System.
During Terrex 5.5, a recent statewide exercise for an emergency scenario affecting public health, participants used SMRT to view shared displays of maps pinpointing Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and local distribution centers, manage their inventories, calculate needs according to population, and track health supply shipments and deliveries. NHHS led the exercise in collaboration with the University of Nebraska, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and ESRI business partner GeoAge. More than 20 Nebraska local health departments participated as well as the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, Department of Roads, and State Patrol; Crete Carrier transportation company; and the Air National Guard.
A crucial element of this exercise was testing the ability of Nebraska health officials to receive and distribute supplies from SNS using the SMRT application. The CDC-maintained SNS has large quantities of medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out. Each state has plans to receive and distribute SNS medicine and medical supplies to local communities as quickly as possible.
“The GIS application provided the ability to map the location of facilities and their inventory relative to population, which users found to be a very powerful, functional, easy-to-use tool for inventory management,” says Chris Chalmers, GIS coordinator for NHHS and director of public health GIS research at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies.
“This successful exercise highlights the critical role of information technology in collaboration during public health emergency preparedness and response,” says Bill Davenhall, health and human services industry manager, ESRI. “GIS adds significant value by providing a framework to integrate data from disparate sources, then visualize, analyze, and map that information to create a common operational picture for communication and decision-making purposes.”
GeoAge was founded by Professors Jerry Merckel, David Lambert, and John Alexander of the University of North Florida’s College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction. They devised a method of rapid data collection robust enough to deploy under the most adverse conditions. The University of North Florida received patent number 6,574,561, issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 3, 2003, for the technology and granted an exclusive license to GeoAge for the commercialization of the technology. Visit GeoAge at www.geoage.com.
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