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Abstract

Research pertaining to emergency response systems has accelerated over the past few years, particularly since 9/11 events, and more recently due to Hurricane Katrina and concern of the avian flu pandemic. This study examines the requirements that are the most demanding with respect to software and hardware, and the associated design strategies for a public health emergency response system (ERS) for electronic laboratory diagnostics consultation. In addition, this study illustrates ways to evaluate the design decisions. An important goal of a public health ERS is to improve the communication and notification of life-threatening diseases and harmful agents. The system under study is called Secure Telecommunications Application Terminal Package or STATPack. STATPack supports distributed laboratories to communicate information and make decisions regarding biosecurity situations. The intent of the system is to help hospital laboratories enhance their preparedness for a bioterrorism event or other public health emergency. The practical nature of this research concerns how an ERS diagnostic and consultation system was designed to alert and support first responders and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The academic nature of the research centers on the critical requirements of an ERS and how these unique needs can be met through careful design. Understanding the critical requirements will assist developers to better meet the expectations of the users. Specifically, I conducted a thirteen month study analyzing the requirements, design, and implementation of the system.

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