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Despite the investment of billions of dollars in federal funding towards emergency preparedness and response initiatives, broadly accepted performance measures for determining the efficacy of these systems have yet to be established. The inability to accurately capture this information creates knowledge gaps which hinder the ability to measure the true degree of preparedness. As a key communications component of North Carolina's public health system, the North Carolina Public Health Information Network (NC PHIN) serves as a promising means to measure emergency preparedness and response. We seek to determine how NC PHIN has increased emergency preparedness and response capacity by presenting a simulation of the 2004 State Fair E. coli Outbreak. We find that although the capacity exists within NC PHIN to increase emergency preparedness and response, other factors limit NC PHIN's effectiveness. Our findings suggest that proper resource allocation will be necessary in order to realize the true efficacy of NC PHIN.
Date of Conference: 13-16 Dec. 2009