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Traditional and Mobile Public Health Alert Communications with Health Care Providers


The effectiveness of emergency preparedness and response systems depends, in part, on the effectiveness of communication between agencies and individuals involved in emergency response, including health care providers who play a significant role in planning, event detection, response and communication with the public. Although much attention has been paid to the importance of communicating clinical data from health care providers to public health agencies for purposes of early event detection and situational awareness (e.g., BioSense) and to the need for alerting health care providers of public health events (e.g., Health Alert Networks), no studies to date have systematically identified the most effective methods of communication between public health agencies and community health care providers for purposes of public health emergency preparedness and response. The REACH (Rapid Emergency Alert Communication in Health) study is a 4-year randomized controlled trial to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of mobile (SMS) and traditional (email, FAX) communication strategies for sending public health messages to health care providers—physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and veterinarians.


To systematically compare mobile (SMS) and traditional (email, FAX) communication strategies to identify which modality is most effective for communication of health alerts and advisories between public health agencies and health care providers in order to improve emergency preparedness and response.


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