Experience 1: Patient zero: preventing new pandemics and bio-terror attacks

In 2025, it is not within months, but hours or days that a digital medical system needs to detect pandemics and bio-terror attacks — and respond effectively at the source, before it spreads.

Ebola drives today’s fears and media attention, but it’s far from a serious global pandemic. In one year, the 2009 Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic was much more contagious, deadly and expensive. It started in Veracruz, Mexico. By the time it was discovered months later it was spreading around the world. In America alone over 60 million people caught the disease, 274,000 were hospitalized and over 12,000 died.

In 2009, we had the Internet, Skype calls, new media like Twitter and social media like Facebook. That era was like a steam engine next to the Digital Earth rocket we need to become.

In the first minutes after a threat is discovered…

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Two high-risk alerts notify a pandemic disease prevention specialist

It’s 2025. Anna Jenner is a pandemic disease prevention specialist at the Centers for Health Expansion (CHE) in Atlanta, Georgia. She received two high-risk alerts from Mexico City: The flu trends metric had shot up, with flu mortality three times higher than expected.

Anna Focused a CHE Pandemic Shared Space for Central America. Then she Activated Renata Gomez Moreno, a public health colleague in Mexico City.



Mexico City colleague finds the issue is at one Mexico City hospital

“Can you check the local flu mortality data,” Anna asked after saying hello. “Flu incidence is up sharply, and mortality is three times what it should be.”

From one of her local Shared Spaces Renata activated a local mortality data source. She made it the screen background for their Shared Space. They immediately saw that the unusual number of flu deaths were mainly in one Mexico City hospital.



Nurse in hospital confirms flu incidence and mortality

Renata used a Shared Space of doctors and nurses in Mexico City and Activated a nurse supervisor from the most affected hospital. Martina Sanchez Salazar used a tablet to join them on-screen. She added the hospital's flu mortality data and they compared their data. This could be a more lethal strain of flu.

Martina also told them this flu spread quickly to both patients and hospital staff. Anna and Renata asked about the hospital’s infection control.



Anna simulates more infection control

Anna asked Martina to go to a flu patient’s room and use her tablet's camera to set the room as their Shared Space background. Then Anna asked if the hospital has negative air pressure filters. This filters the flu virus from the air with a HEPA filter. A UV light traps and sterilizes viruses and bacteria.

Martina said no, so Anna used her pandemic Shared Space to show this set up.

Martina said this is needed, but must be approved by an Administrator.



Hospital administrator approves delivery of infection control units

Using her hospital Shared Space, Martina added Carlos Diaz Ramos, a hospital Administrator. Renata showed him the flu mortality data and the image of the patient's room with the added infection control. Carlos was alarmed. He said the negative air pressure filers would be used if supplied.

Renata muted this Shared Space and switched to a Mexico City medical supplies Shared Space to track down the infection control equipment and arrange delivery.



Hospital lab agrees to ship live virus cultures

In Atlanta, Anna said this might be a new and more lethal strain of flu, and needed analysis immediately. Anna asked Carlos to bring in a hospital lab technician who had done the cultures from these patients. Carlos Activated Lorena Alvarez Ortiz, who confirmed that she had collected and kept the live virus from the deceased flu patients.

The Administrator told Lorena to assist the CHE.



DNA analysis of new flu virus by vaccine developer

Anna asked the lab tech to get samples of the deceased flu patients' cultures. While she did that Anna used the CHE’s Pandemic Shared Space to Activate Jeff, the head of a leading hospital’s Department of Infectious Diseases. That team developed the vaccine for the first "bird flu" (H5N1) pandemic in only 4 weeks.

Anna briefed Jeff. He said his lab would do a DNA analysis of the new flu virus. The Administrator approved shipping live cultures to the doctor's lab.



Used the Shared Space to schedule overnight shipment of live virus cultures

Jeff and Lorena muted their connection to the Shared Space while working directly to arrange the immediate shipment of the flu cultures. They used the CHE’s Pandemic Shared Space to bring in an express delivery service representative to set up this bio-hazardous shipment properly.

He arranged an overnight bio-hazard shipment of the live virus from Mexico City to the research lab.



U.S. Strategic National Stockpile will ship the best available vaccines

Anna told Carlos the CHE wanted to protect the hospital staff by sending them the best flu medications and vaccines.

Carlos agreed to use them. Anna Activated Richard, a manager at the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), the United States' national repository of antibiotics and vaccines.

Richard agreed to send what the hospital needed immediately.



Renata located negative air pressure filters, for delivery in two hours

Renata had succeeded. She returned and told Carlos, the Administrator, four sets of negative air pressure filters would arrive at the hospital in about 2 hours.

Carlos said that was great, but how would the hospital get them ready and installed — they had never used these before.



Infection control specialist added to guide use of air filters

“That’s not a problem,” Anna said. She used the CHE’s Pandemic Shared Space to Activate Lee Minton, an infection control specialist.

Lee immediately confirmed that she would work with the hospital’s staff to guide them through installing and using the negative air pressure systems, as well as help in other ways to limit the spread of the flu to the hospital staff and other patients.