New Tool Can Help Identify Nations That May Be Vulnerable to Ebola or Other Public Health Emergencies
Mar 3, 2015
Using the Ebola outbreak that surged in 2014 and continues into 2015 as an illustrative example, RAND developed a proof-of-concept tool that aims to track, synthesize, evaluate, and communicate lessons that are being learned during an ongoing response and recovery effort, so that these lessons can be applied to the same effort to mitigate a problem or replicate a success. In this perspective, we describe and then illustratively apply the proposed Intra-Action Report (IAR) — a label we coined to describe this proof-of-concept tool. The IAR offers unique value by (1) offering a structured framework to capture actions iteratively during an ongoing response and recovery effort related to public health emergencies and disasters that unfold over protracted time frames, (2) pointing to opportunities for addressing initial failures or challenges and for replicating and promulgating successes during the same event, and (3) supporting communication and dissemination of best practices about ongoing response efforts. Although we use the 2014 Ebola outbreak as an illustrative example, the IAR is applicable to any type of public health emergency. And while it has been designed to take advantage of periodic updates during an ongoing, protracted emergency response, the framework can also be used only once (to produce a snapshot rather than progress over time) or after an event (more closely resembling a traditional After-Action Report). We hope that this proof of concept will be a useful addition to the emergency management toolkit and that this perspective will spur further development of the IAR concept.