DIG IT AWARD FINALIST: Cloud and Infrastructure
Bringing big data to bear on infectious disease
- By Suzette Lohmeyer
- Sep 27, 2016
Getting a step ahead of infectious disease traditionally has been a long and laborious process as data analysts collect and translate data for subject-matter specialists.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with a team that is now part of Leidos, cut the process time from months to days with the cloud-based Collaborative Advanced Analytics and Data Sharing toolkit, which makes data accessible to end users who have minimal training and no coding expertise.
CAADS was put to the test in Austin, Ind. -- a community of 4,000 faced with an HIV/hepatitis outbreak that affected 4.5 percent of the population. Austin health officials knew that needle sharing was a cause of the outbreak, but they still needed data -- and fast -- to figure out how it was moving across different populations so they could target treatments in the best way possible.
CAADS enabled CDC officials to collect and compare disparate data from several separate sources, including patient surveillance questionnaires, viral genetic data, and state and local lab results. Using CAADS' drag-and-drop interface, the data was normalized and analyzed, allowing public health officials to identify areas most affected by the outbreak.
According to the nominators, CAADS is a platform that can be adapted for use beyond the health sector. Any agency can use CAADS to collect and analyze data types from various sources and make it accessible to people who need it -- fast.
Note: This article was updated on Oct. 13 to clarify that the CAADS platform is now a Leidos solution, following Leidos' merger with Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions business.
Suzette Lohmeyer is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.