Digital Technologies for the Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases

A Scoping Review of the Research Literature, 2015–2019

Published in: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website (2021). doi: 10.2900/086179

Posted on RAND.org on June 01, 2022

by Gemma-Claire Ali, Advait Deshpande, Joe Francombe, Evangelos Gkousis, Emily Ryen Gloinson, Salil Gunashekar, Brandi Leach, Sarah Parkinson, Helena de Carvalho Gomes

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We conducted a scoping review of the literature published between 2015 and 2019 on the use of digital technologies for the surveillance, prevention and control of infectious diseases. The scoping review protocol was developed following the PRISMA-ScR checklist. We ran peer-reviewed search strategies in PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the ACM Digital Library. We also searched CORDIS—the European Commission's primary public repository—to identify relevant EU-funded research projects and conducted targeted searches in Google. Study selection was based on pre-defined inclusion criteria and included a pilot screening exercise to ensure a consistent approach among all members of the study team. Using a pre-designed extraction template, we extracted data from each study on publication details, geographical context, digital technologies, infectious diseases, key public health functions, and the potential benefits, obstacles and negative impacts of using the digital technologies in the given context. Digital technologies were categorised according to 15 high-level technology groups. These include cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence, and autonomous devices and systems such as drones. Technologies were also classified against six key public health functions of relevance to infectious disease control, for example surveillance, signal detection and outbreak response. The database/repository searches returned a total of 5 780 unique references. A further 14 relevant articles were identified through CORDIS, and 31 from targeted Google searches. Of these, 502 articles were identified as eligible for inclusion.

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