Using Risk Analysis to Assess the Value of Improved Biosurveillance

Principal Investigator: Henry Willis

Other Researchers: Adam Rose, Heather Rosoff


The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Health Affairs manages the National Biosurveillance Integration Center (NBIC).  The mission of NBIC is to enable early warning and shared situational awareness of bioterrorism events and disseminate warning and recommended actions to the appropriate interagency partners in a timely fashion to improve the public response to these incidents (DHS 2012).  To improve the nation’s biosurveillance capabilities, NBIC is evaluating new ways to complete these processes and seeks tools to help policymakers weigh response options.  In prior work, CREATE applied two standard decision analysis tools to biosurveillance – decision trees and value-of-information analysis – to develop tools for evaluating the value of strategies to enhance biosurveillance and to improve decisions about whether and how to act after detection of a biosurveillance signal.  The prototype tool was developed around the context of protecting DHS workforce and personnel during an infectious disease outbreak.  This study will extend these tools to other decision contexts for DHS and  begin the process of transitioning the results of that prior work into broadly used tools by DHS and DHHS.