Public Health

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Regional, State, and National Public Health entities

Public health departments have the challenge of monitoring the environment to get the earliest possible warning of a threat in progress, including man-made events like an anthrax or chemical attack, or a naturally occurring event like SARS, flu epidemic or food poisoning. Often getting lab or pharmacy data can take days or weeks, but 911 call data and electronic patient care reports (ePCR) submitted by paramedics, as well as poison center and hospital data — all monitored by FirstWatch — can provide near real-time monitoring of critical trends.

User-defined priorities are called “triggers” and can be set to automatically alert when pre-established criteria is met. Automated alerts can be configured to provide notifications based upon concerning trends, patterns or geographic clusters of occurrences that could affect the public or first responders. The user defines to whom and how alerts will be sent out. Data can be displayed visually on dashboards that are continually updated and available on any device that is connected to the Internet. Local, state, and national data can be integrated and displayed to show trends that cross political jurisdictions.

Public health departments often collaborate with public safety departments to use Homeland Security grants to acquire FirstWatch both as tool for early warning, but also to take advantage of opportunities to improve everyday operations and clinical performance.

Key features for public health

  • A variety of data sources

    Any information that is captured in a database, such as 911/public safety dispatch (EMS, fire and police) data, ePCRs, or hospital reports, can be monitored by FirstWatch. The process is automated so there is no need for new training or any changes in how staff currently works.

  • Dashboards make data easy to visualize

    Data is presented on dashboards so users can quickly and easily see the status of any dataset they wish to–and on any device that connects to the Internet.

  • Early warning utility

    FirstWatch can be set to alert for early signs of a chemical, biologic, radioactive or nuclear attack, or for naturally occurring events like epidemics.

  • Sentinel event/situational awareness alerts

    FirstWatch can be used to reduce workload and increase awareness by automating key notifications for sentinel or situational awareness events, such as the explosion of a bomb or suspicious clusters of patients that could be an indicator of an epidemic.

  • Customized alerting

    When a FirstWatch trigger goes off, the user determines to whom and how an alert will automatically be sent–for example, pager, email, fax, text message, etc.

  • Pre-set or customized triggers

    Users can use pre-set triggers to provide alerts for common types of incidents, and can also have customized triggers for their specific needs.

  • Secure processes meet HIPAA requirements

    FirstWatch systems and processes ensure security, meeting or exceeding all HIPAA requirements on privacy.