Effective Data Collection, Distribution Critical To Saving Lives In Disease Outbreak Scenarios

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Effective data collection — the hidden work that’s essential to the Ebola control response
Chrissy H. Roberts, academic lead at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) Open Research Kits project

“…In the context of a health crisis of potentially global consequence, the word ‘data’ may not be one of the first to trip off the tongues of many, but the information we collect in an epidemiological study is critical to public health research and evidence-based prevention, treatment, and care. In a disease outbreak we need to bring speed, accuracy, and an in-depth academic and clinical knowledge base to this process of designing and deploying data systems. … Using our tools in an emergency response is a turning point in our work as it marks a move out of academic research and into the realm of a real life or death situation. I’m very confident that we [at LSHTM Open Research Kits project] can make a big difference here, not least because what our team does is so much more than just hand out smartphones and set up databases. We have some of the best clinical researchers in the world on this team and they are absolutely focused on the data, because they believe that data saves lives” (5/31).

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