JMU Institute and Partners Win Governor's Technology Award

From: Public Afairs

Sept. 9, 2008

HARRISONBURG — A computer program that can help hospital administrators manage the level of patient care during flu pandemics and other health crises has received a governor's award for innovation.

Developed by the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance (IIIA) at James Madison University and the Augusta Medical Center, the program received the Governor's Innovative Use of Technology in Higher Education Award. Gov. Tim Kaine presented the award Monday, Sept. 8, at the Commonwealth of Virginia Information Technology Symposium in Williamsburg.

"It is an honor to receive the Governor's Technology Award. This recognition is a testament to the true partnership between James Madison University, Augusta Medical Center and the Virginia Department of Health to address planning and preparedness issues impacting the Shenandoah Valley. The innovative work of our faculty and student team has provided a model for future collaborative opportunities," said John Noftsinger, vice provost for research and public service at JMU and executive director of the Institute for Infrastructure and Information Assurance.

The software enables hospital management to understand the ramifications of a patient surge. Hospitals can use the model to explore different patient surge scenarios and the impact a surge can exert on the standard level of care. For example, when do caregivers reduce the number of hours of care per patient in order to provide coverage to a larger population of sick?

IIIA developed the model based on extensive research into flu pandemics of the past. The model incorporates statistical information that includes trends over time. Four scenarios were created to aid with hospital decision making. Three of the scenarios are grounded in historic data: the 1918 Spanish flu, the 1957-58 Asian flu and the seasonal flu. The fourth scenario is a hypothetical pandemic flu scenario based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu severity index.

Following a successful demonstration of the modeling tool's capabilities and methodology, the IIIA-AMC partnership expanded to include the Virginia Department of Health.