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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2009 Nov 14;2009:504-8.

Interactive agent based modeling of public health decision-making.

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  • 1University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Agent-based models have yielded important insights regarding the transmission dynamics of communicable diseases. To better understand how these models can be used to study decision making of public health officials, we developed a computer program that linked an agent-based model of pertussis with an agent-based model of public health management. The program, which we call the Public Health Interactive Model & simulation (PHIMs) encompassed the reporting of cases to public health, case investigation, and public health response. The user directly interacted with the model in the role of the public health decision-maker. In this paper we describe the design of our model, and present the results of a pilot study to assess its usability and potential for future development. Affinity for specific tools was demonstrated. Participants ranked the program high in usability and considered it useful for training. Our ultimate goal is to achieve better public health decisions and outcomes through use of public health decision support tools.

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