Early warning could boost hospitals’ resilience: Innovating with the Medical University of South Carolina

March 28 2023

Hospitals are at the center of how we detect and respond to biological threats, but many still don’t have access to robust early warning insights around disease outbreaks. Timely, actionable data could empower them to combat infectious disease more effectively. 

That’s what we’re working on with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)—tuning our existing pathogen monitoring solutions to help enhance the hospital’s foresight. Leveraging MUSC’s expertise and our biosecurity platform, our collaboration will explore how near-real-time insights can help hospitals mitigate the harmful impacts of outbreaks. 

4 biosecurity tools we’re deploying

Our toolkit for hospital biosecurity is backed by our tried-and-tested surveillance and analytical solutions. Our team of seasoned epidemiologists and data scientists filter thousands of reports of outbreaks on a weekly basis to identify and track concerning pathogens. 

MUSC is examining a variety of use cases for the data, such as planning for potential impacts on people’s health, healthcare infrastructure, medical supply chains, patient load, and staff safety. Here are some specific capabilities we’re delivering through our program:

Weekly monitored outbreaks digest 

Hospitals have to balance attention between what’s going on in their immediate area and what’s going on around the globe. To keep personnel plugged into the big picture, we condense the most pertinent insights around global infectious disease events, including basic epidemiological information and overall threat-level scoring that reflects potential risk to human health, economies, and political stability.

Epidemic threat monitor

For broader situational awareness, the Ginkgo Biosecurity epidemiology team curates emerging and ongoing events into a dashboard that provides regular reporting of high-consequence outbreaks. Key data, such as first known cases, total case counts, and a threat-level score, aims to inform MUSC’s strategies for mitigating impacts.

Ongoing and historical epidemic database

Users can query and analyze a database of more than 3,000 historical and ongoing epidemics for details including suspected, probable, and confirmed cases and deaths at the finest time and geography scales available. They can also make apples-to-apples comparisons of epidemiological factors across outbreaks, geography, and time. The added ability to visualize the locations of facilities, suppliers, or other essential locations against the geographic spread of outbreaks could enhance MUSC’s ability to anticipate disruption to their operations.

Realistic epidemic scenarios

Probabilistic models could help hospitals prepare for a wide range of potential outbreak and epidemic scenarios, including unprecedented or low-probability events that could have outsized impacts (as in the case of COVID-19).  Understanding the frequency and severity of epidemics and pandemics – and the impacts in terms of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths – can inform preparedness as well as operational and continuity planning for the entire hospital system.

Help us fortify the frontlines

Our work with MUSC will be foundational for defining how hospitals can leverage epidemiological modeling, predictive capabilities, and biosecurity solutions. There’s still a lot to learn. If your healthcare institution is interested in collaborating on early warning solutions, please contact us!

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