Innovative information integration embedded in an advanced decision support tool is required to effectively determine supplies, equipment, and personnel needed to respond to an emergency -- and its long-term consequences.
Earth sciences information to predict/assess the nature of the event must be combined with demographic information to determine the human considerations. This must be combined with epidemiological knowledge of mortality and morbidity to determine the impact. Medical best practices knowledge driven by sophisticated planning tools is then needed to advise on responses.
Few tools do this. Lamentably, none address children's special needs and requirements -- the most precious and vulnerable part of our population. Special issues of treating children are not widely understood by non-pediatric care practitioners, yet in public health crises the burden of care often falls to those nearest rather than those specifically-trained.
Our team of clinicians, epidemiologists, and computer scientists at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and USC Information Sciences Institute has developed a tool called PEDSS (Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System) to address this need for other disaster categories. This work was performed under the auspices of the Pediatric Disaster Resource and Training Center (PDRTC), which originated under DHHS funding to serve the Los Angeles County Disaster Resource Center network, and now provides nationwide services.