Biological Modeling and Analytical Decision Support for the U.S. Department Of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority

Biological modeling and analytical decision support for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)

Recognizing a Need

IEM worked with HHS for more than ten years to produce medical consequence models and analyses for all the Category A biological agents and some Category B agents. During our tenure with HHS, IEM provided solutions to complicated problems, such as estimating healthcare vulnerabilities and preparedness levels, enhancing infectious disease data modeling capabilities, and developing simulation tools to aid healthcare response.

The IEM Approach

IEM developed a variety of tools to improve HHS’s biological modeling and analytical tools. IEM created the interactive Healthcare Preparedness and Risk Assessment Tool (HPRAT) to help planners and policymakers estimate healthcare preparedness levels; vulnerabilities to particular threat scenarios and/or losses of critical infrastructure, and the reduction in risk or improvement in preparedness obtained by a healthcare facility through investment in specific mitigation efforts. IEM also helped standardize HHS’s disease modeling formats by developing specific input parameters and accessing model measures of effectiveness for infectious disease models. To support discussion on the potential donation of smallpox vaccine from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO), IEM developed a simulation tool to show how infected smallpox cases in a hypothetical scenario could travel to dozens of international destinations in a short amount of time.

Innovating for Resilience

IEM’s HPRAT is comprised of three peer-reviewed models, including a Healthcare Preparedness Model (HPM), a Critical Infrastructure Model (CIM), and Supply Chain Model (SCM) to help HHS assess a variety of vulnerabilities in different scenarios and identify actions to mitigate risk. The modeling standardization and increase in effectiveness IEM provided, bolstered HHS’s Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) strategy to evaluate potential medical countermeasure strategies and public health response capabilities. IEM’s simulation tool supported discussions within the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) as well as subsequent use of the smallpox vaccine to prevent a smallpox outbreak.

Achieving Results

IEM enhanced HHS’s biological modeling and healthcare analysis capabilities in a variety of ways. HPRAT enabled HHS to analyze a variety of healthcare preparedness situations to better respond to and reduce risk. IEM’s standardization of modeling formats streamlined HHS’s infectious disease modeling systems and helped capture additional medical countermeasures that it could not before. The modeling and tools IEM developed helped inform officials and organizations on public health needs to respond to a variety of scenarios and assisted in the prevention an outbreak of smallpox.

Expert IEMers

Dr. Sid Baccam, Manager of Emerging Technologies