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Stopping Contagion with Technology: InSTEDD

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Have you seen the movie CONTAGION or read about it? Meet InSTEDD, a group that provides the best technology available for surveillance and response -used from villages in Cambodia to the streets of …

Have you seen the movie CONTAGION or read about it? Meet InSTEDD, a group that provides the best technology available for surveillance and response -used from villages in Cambodia to the streets of New York; from small NGOs to the American Red Cross.


At InSTEDD, we envision a world where communities everywhere design and use technology for their health, safety and development.

Published in: Technology, Health & Medicine

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  • 1. STOPPING AT T H E S O U R C Ea look at our work from the perspective of the movie
  • 2. Contagion does an excellent job at depicting real organizations at work in containing apandemic. But a short movie can’t dive too deep or show all angles.We will show you how technology is being designed and used around the world to makea difference in public health.Spanning remote villages and the world’s largest cities, high-tech and low-tech, routineevents and pandemics.All the information is from real-world projects in which InSTEDD is helping NGOs, healthagencies, and governments improve their ability to improve health and safety with technology.
  • 3. rural & urban In the film, the outbreak starts in an urban environment. Most of humanity lives in urban settings, however the largest interface between humans and animals (a key factor for zoonotic diseases) happens in rural areas.GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workObtaining and processinginformation to help early detection Thousands of village health workers useand early response. GeoChat to create mobile surveillance networks covering even the most remoteLack of trained people to process areas. Many outbreaks are nowinformation and coordinate a rapid contained locally.response. InSTEDD’s field design work and iLabsRapid response in remote areas invent ways so people with low literacywith challenges with language, can report accurately.connectivity, and education.
  • 4. sharing information In the film, the outbreak is investigated trying to find ‘Patient X’ and understand the disease. Pen and paper are always useful, but how can investigators in the CDC and beyond actually share information with each other to accelerate the containment? GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workInvestigators need to share InSTEDD designed for the US Centerinformation regardless of the tools for Disease Control peer to peer datathey have. Even agreeing on what sharing tools that work even whendata may be important takes time. internet and GPRS is not available.Governments, NGOs, hospitals,WHO, CDC, and others need to Investigations are often international.collaborate and share data to InSTEDD works globally to provideunderstand the outbreak. Yet each tools that help countries shareone needs to control its information. disease data in secure, timely ways.
  • 5. real time investigations In the film, the information about the disease in the early stages appears quickly. Usually, finding clues and accessing helpful information for analysis takes more time. GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workEvery clue counts – pictures, InSTEDD created modern tools for thevideo, and location play an Android tablet to support the New Yorkimportant role in helping Health Department in capturing andinvestigators. reporting multimedia data from the field.There is a tradeoff between timely, InSTEDD provides tools to help curatehigh-quality, and complete real-time streams of information, findinformation. Unfortunately, having outlier health events, and filter data withall 3 simultaneously isn’t possible. the aid of machine learning.
  • 6. global & local In the film, the investigation is global. The ultimate goal is to contain and slow down outbreaks at their source - locally. And no one knows better how to do that than the people who live there. GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workMost tools are designed for InSTEDD tools are used everyday innarrow purposes, while surveillance and have been repurposed byoutbreaks demand more free- the users on the go – from responding toform collaboration. floods to tracking new emerging diseases.Supporting local innovators in InSTEDD Innovation Labs are teams ofdesigning and implementing designers, tech savvy and entrepreneurialtools that fit their context. people that invent & build the technologies their communities need.
  • 7. regional networks In the film, international agencies such as CDC and WHO play a crucial role in coordinating the investigation and response. These days, a new form of organization is emerging that can complement their function: regional networks of neighboring countries. GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workDiseases aren’t contained by borders InSTEDD supports the Mekong Basinor boundaries. The movement of Disease Surveillance Network with mobileanimals and workers is a major force tools on sentinel border sites, that help trackin disease spread. outbreaks as they cross borders.Investigators in neighboring countries InSTEDD technologies work internationallyneed to build trust before events allowing agencies to share appropriatehappen. The politics of each information, securely, and 24x7. Usersoutbreak are different and can even include Cambodia, China, Lao PDR,lead to threatened national security. Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • 8. agile technology design In the film, technologies are used that provide an instant display and understanding of data, yet the development of information sharing technology is not highlighted. What happens when agencies with disparate systems need to work together? GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workAccurately predicting the quality, InSTEDD’s approach is centered on working closely with users, listening and iterating thesources and formats of relevant process. We build and integrate custom systemsinformation. when requested and provide the InSTEDD platform as free and open source.Lack of widely implemented,supported and updated standards. As the 2009 H1N1 outbreak developed, InSTEDD provided WHO with geoclustering toolsAdapting technologies to the users that allowed them to compare reported vs.rather than the other way around. confirmed case spread based on their internal systems.
  • 9. information flow The film shows how easily modern society can be disrupted. Helping people get the information they need to help themselves is not done enough, even though the technology to do so already exists. The World Disaster Report confirms that “Disaster-affected people need information as much as water, food, medicine, or shelter. Information can save lives, livelihoods and resources.” GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workSupply chains, transportationsystems, and other infrastructures InSTEDD provided AlertNet with theare fragile. technology to send SMSs with aid information to tens of thousands ofLack of information amplifies the survivors of the Haiti earthquake. 85% ofdeaths and suffering of any event. recipients acted differently as a result.Mobiles are an not used enough to InSTEDD provided the American Redprovide personally relevant Cross with tools that save key membersinformation to those threatened by hours in the activation of communitythe event. volunteers during times of crises.
  • 10. official & crowdsourced data In the film, “Nothing spreads like fear”. In our world information flows rapidly via mobiles and computers. This information multiplies and replicates through tools like Twitter and Facebook. But is this viral information flow being harnessed for good? GLOBAL CHALLENGES | our workReliability and accuracy social InSTEDD’s TaskMeUp and Riff tools allownetworks/media are questionable. teams to sift through live streams of information like tweets, news, blogs andThe truth itself may be unverified, SMS – combining crowd, expert, andcomplex, and open. Raw data is algorithm-sourced data.typically not available or trustworthy. Simple mobile tools from InSTEDD speed upResponse agencies often are not the validation of what’s really happening andsocial-media savvy, and their educate health workers and reporters onmessages are easily overrun. what to look for.
  • 11. At InSTEDD, we envision a world where communities everywhere design and use technology for their health, safety and development. We strive to achieve this vision through 4 key areas: Building Capacity Collaborating with End Users within communities to foster through a bottom up design a local culture of innovation and development processCreating Technologies Ensuring Usefulness and Impactfor social good collaboration through research and evaluation
  • 12. Learn more at www.instedd.org/contagion rural & urban the projects with local impact and global reach sharing information the iLabs where social needs meet innovation real time investigations global & local the technologies that make a difference regional networks the services that can help create scalable impact agile technology design the domain expertise to guide the process information flowofficial & crowdsourced data the global network to support the effort facebook.com/InSTEDD @InSTEDD youtube.com/instedd flickr.com/instedd slideshare.net/instedd
  • 13. s wouldn’t have ben possible without….! This would not have been possible without...worked on Contagion…! on..and everyone whowho works public health every day! Everyone who worked the film and everyone works in in public health everyday! !"#$%$&(#)%&*%"+(#,-().%+/&01).%*&0#$"2&#).% ,&31"#-().%)&,-"4%(#5(/1/-)()%6#789::%-)%1/&0$%5&% ,&44";&/"5(%<-5=!% All ™, ® and © contents –names, texts and logos- are property of their respective owners. Contagion is a Warner Bros. Pictures trademark. The InSTEDD logo is © InSTEDD. This presentation is shared under Creative Common: CC-by-nc-nd No celebrities were harmed during this research.