Alain Moren and Marc Rondy, EpiConcept epidemiologists went to Hong Kong in mid March to give a six-day training in intervention epidemiology. The principles presented were directly applied to case studies whose data had been computerised. The participants were familiarised with the principles of programming and STATA commands. The final day was dedicated to discovering EpiInfo 7 and other on-line data collection software.
A team of two from EpiConcept worked 8 days with the Mongolian cardio telemedicine team in the capital, Ulan Bator. The site visit allowed the EpiConcept team to train the focal IT person on some of the more complex technical issues and to put in place an interoperability link between the information system at the Ministry of Health and the cardiology information system (a Voozanoo-based application in place since 2008).
The last six months saw a number of NGOs sign contracts with EpiConcept for software Saga (accounting), Homere (Human resources management), and SagaStock (logistics stock management).
Saga:SOLTHIS (Solidarité Thérapeutique et initiatives contre le SIDA), OPALS (Organisation Panafricaine de Lutte pour la Santé), AVN (Association Voute Nubienne), GRET (Professionals for fair Development)
From February 13 to 19, two EpiConcept project managers visited Senegal to ensure a solid start to the implementation of the biological lab management software called LabBook. The first part of the mission was to give participants from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Senegal recommendations and best practices for setting up and using the Laboratory management system. The second part of the mission was to train 15 Senegal lab managers from the national lab network in the setting up and usage of the application. Each participant left the training with a computer and the installed software ready to deploy. The RESAOLAB (West African lab network) is piloted by the Mérieux foundation and financed by the Agence Française de Développement.
Epidemiologists from EpiConcept have had their research on vaccine effectiveness cited on CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the university of Minnesota) and published on Eurosurvillance the European peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to the epidemiology, surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases.
The French territorial island of St. Martin in the Caribbean has chosen EpiConcept’s case-contact software for their Anti-tuberculosis (CLAT) programme. The information system known as DAMOC is currently being used in 10 departments in France. A project manager from EpiConcept will be going to St. Martin in the beginning of February to finalize the parameters of the setup and to train users on the system.
EpiConcept has been contracted by the Hong Kong department of health for a fourth year of Field Epidemiology training which will be composed of three courses and distance supervision of FETP trainees. The first of the three courses, a one-week course in advanced epidemiological methods, will take place in March.
Epidemiologists from EpiConcept will be teaching a course for the European Centre for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) in methods and best practices in outbreak investigations to public health professionals from EU countries. The three-day course for the 30 participants will be taught at the end of February at the Mérieux foundation’s conference center in Veyrier-du-lac, France, an hour from Geneva.
The EpiConcept team wishes you all the best for this new year. In 2013 we’ll continue to pursue our spirit of engaged solidarity in order to stay close to our customers, partners, and collaborators. As is our tradition, we have asked the artist Yann Legendre to create our yearly poster. You can download an A3 sized version here.
Four epidemiologists from EpiConcept participated in the the international meeting on the effectiveness of flu vaccines. The meeting was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and took place on December 3 and 4. The goal of the meeting was to present and discuss studies conducted in vaccine effectiveness from various areas of the world. This was an occasion for Esther Kissling and Marta Valenciano to present the I-Move project and for Alain Moren to give a presentation on the methodology of case-control studies to measure vaccine effectiveness. Marta also moderated a session focusing on the analysis of grouped international data, an essential element needed in order to get sample sizes sufficiently large to have precise estimations. The result of these discussions should be a WHO publication of a guide on best practices for measuring flu vaccine effectiveness.
EpiConcept’s epidemiologist Marta Valenciano co-taught a five-day course in scientific writing for the Hong Kong Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) at the end of November. Taught with Yvan Huton, the director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), the course included lectures and work groups and concluded by producing a cleaned manuscript ready for submission to a peer reviewed journal.
The occupational cancer research group (GISCOP93) for the Seine Saint Denis department (northern suburb of Paris) will use EpiConcept’s Voozanoo platform to build a secure cloud-based patient information system. Since 2006, the group has been using a local patient database that had been developed by EpiConcept and which could only be accessed from one location. The changeover to a web-based patient system will make information entry and retrieval available anywhere there is a web browser. Due to GISCOP93’s limited budget, instead of having EpiConcept develop the application, key group members will take part in a week-long technical training in the beginning of January on the open source Voozanoo tool that EpiConcept uses itself to create custom cloud-based secure information systems. Participants will spend two days in standard classroom learning and then three days in a workshop environment where they will start laying down the structure of their future (self-created) information system. The contract includes secured hosting on EpiConcept’s certified hosting service.
EpiConcept has signed a contract with Centre Hospitalier Intercommunal de Meulan - les Mureaux to deploy the tuberculosis patient information system Damoc for the Yvelines department. To be operational in the first quarter of 2013, this is the third department to sign a contract for Damoc in 2012 and the 4th department for the Ile-de-France region. Related to this, the 10th bi-annual “Damoc Day” took place on 16th of November where users from all of the Damoc installed sites exchanged best practices. EpiConcept presented sessions on the new statistics output, protocol management, database mail merge, the new account closing system , and the survey synthesis sheet.
EpiConcept has signed a contract with the Rhone-Alpe cancer screening centers to join in using the document delivery system ZEPRA (Zero Exchange of Paper in Rhone-Alpe). This document repository system created by the SIS-RA (Health information systems of the Rhone-Alp) significantly reduces the postage burden of sending documents to doctors, gynecologists, and other medical personnel. Starting with a pilot in the Isere department in January and to be generalized to the region quickly thereafter, the screening centers will securely send electronic documents to the SIS-RA which then sends an e-mail to the medical personnel specified notifying them that there are documents about his or her patient ready to be downloaded. The doctor must then slide his CPS card (Carte de professionnels de la Santé) into a small reader connected to his computer, which verifies his right to access the document. The postage and paper burden is one of the higher budget items in the screening centers. The cost reduction along with the immediacy of electronic communications and the proof of reception of documents will have a positive effect on the region’s cancer screening centers.
As part of an overall package to review and make recommendations to Epicenter (medical research arm of Doctors without Borders MSF) on the use of mobile device data collection in resource constrained environments, EpiConcept assessed the needs in tuberculosis and HIV patient monitoring. These assessments will allow EpiCentre to understand how best new technologies could be useful to facilitate data collection and centralization. A third assessment in Armenia will take place late in the year targeting Multiple Drug Resistant (MDR) tuberculosis programs.
Since the beginning of September, a state operated cancer screening center in Haute-Garonne has been using the new iPad-based information system for entering mammography result analysis at radiology labs. Two more centers are scheduled to use in starting in November. What this means is that instead of analysis being transcribed from paper into the NeoScope database, which can take two to three days, the database will receive the analysis that day.
For the radiologists who have perfected their paper system over many years, they found that the new process of using a tablet did not make any unnecessary demands on them. Project Director Dahlia Knafo of EpiConcept stated, “When you change a process that has been operating regularly, blocking issues will often arise. The new process is running smoothly.” Moving forward, In November, these pilot centers plan to be able to enter the second mammogram analysis results (every mammogram is read twice for accuracy) into the tablet at the screening administration center itself. Although operating only on the iPad platform currently, adjustments to the system will allow Android based tablets to be used in the future.
EpiConcept’s Esther Kissling was awarded “Best oral presentation” at the 6th ESCAIDE ( European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disesase Epidemiology) 2012 in Edinburgh on Friday the 26th of October. Her presentation was entitled, “Influenza vaccine effectiveness in Europe, 2011-12: estimates from the I-MOVE multicentre case-control study among target groups for vaccination.” Fellow EpiConcept epidemiologist Marta Valenciano also contributed to this vaccine effectiveness study.
Epiconcept Epidemiologists Marc Rondy and Esther Kissling displayed their research during the poster session of the 6th ESCAIDE ( European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology) 2012 in Edinburgh on the 25th of October.
Marc Rondy’s poster : Epidemiologists 2011-12 seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness against laboratory confirmed influenza hospitalisation: Pooled analysis from a European network of hospitals. Ethers Kissling’s poster: Short illustrated multi-lingual educational booklets: Learning key epidemiological concepts the fun way.
As part of its surveillance output production strategy, the European Center for Disease prevention and Control (ECDC) has begun collaboration with EpiConcept to restructure its surveillance data output. The goal is to make its surveillance data more accessible, timely, and useful. Together, EpiConcept and epidemiologists from ECDC’s Surveillance and Response Unit will create a pilot program using two disease data sets to describe the validation, quality checks, and data cleaning rules for the preparation of these diseases’ data output. Additionally, they will work on what content is to be displayed in a future surveillance dashboard for the two diseases.