Disruptive Innovation Can Prevent the Next Pandemic

Front Public Health. 2015 Sep 23;3:215. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00215. eCollection 2015

Disruptive Innovation Can Prevent the Next Pandemic.

Shaikh AT, Ferland L, Hood-Cree R, Shaffer L, McNabb SJ.

Public health surveillance (PHS) is at a tipping point, where the application of novel processes, technologies, and tools promise to vastly improve efficiency and effectiveness. Yet twentieth century, entrenched ideology and lack of training results in slow uptake and resistance to change. The term disruptive innovation – used to describe advances in technology and processes that change existing markets – is useful to describe the transformation of PHS. Past disruptive innovations used in PHS, such as distance learning, the smart phone, and field-based laboratory testing have outpaced older services, practices, and technologies used in the traditional classroom, governmental offices, and personal communication, respectively. Arguably, the greatest of these is the Internet – an infrastructural innovation that continues to enable exponential benefits in seemingly limitless ways. Considering the Global Health Security Agenda and facing emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats, evolving environmental and behavioral risks, and ever changing epidemiologic trends, PHS must transform. Embracing disruptive innovation in the structures and processes of PHS can be unpredictable. However, it is necessary to strengthen and unlock the potential to prevent, detect, and respond.

KEYWORDS: disruptive innovation; e-Surveillance; one health; public health informatics; public health surveillance; public health surveillance strengthening