Discussion: Evidence Base in Design

Health policies define actions at the global, national, and local levels while specifying action plans for achieving goals and objectives. As a result, they are prerequisites for developing informed and evidence-based health laws and guidelines. According to Liao (2019), policies reflect public opinion and evidence-based data because policymakers comprise a collection of stakeholders whose responsibility is to find solutions to health challenges beyond the scope of non-governmental or philanthropic organizations. Therefore, they provide profound recommendations for addressing multifactorial health problems.

In this discussion, I would like to underscore the Covid Research Act of 2020 (Computing Opportunities to Vanquish Infectious Diseases Research Act of 2020) as a profound health policy whose enactment can translate to improved health and wellness. Representative Frank D. Lucas introduced this bill to the house on 23rd April 2020. It requires the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to embrace and adopt specified actions related to forecasting emerging infectious diseases (Congress.gov, 2020). The OSTP must establish an inter-agency working team to coordinate infectious disease prediction and forecast federal activities. Further, a multiagency team must identify challenges in predicting disease outbreaks and develop strategic solutions for these constraints.

Additionally, the policy requires DOE to conduct and report to Congress on various matters, including competitive research programs for national laboratories and others to leverage analytical tools, computational, and networking capabilities to prevent and respond to emerging infectious diseases, including Covid-19 (Congress.gov, 2020). Therefore, the bill emphasizes utilizing analytics to predict and forecast emerging infectious diseases to understand trends and other aspects for preparedness and response interventions.

I think this policy is essential in bolstering public health and reducing people’s susceptibility to the effects of emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19. For instance, it is vivid to argue that the Covid-19 emergence and subsequent transmission across countries resulted in multiple adverse ramifications, including increased mortalities, compromised quality of life, disruptions of global and national economic activities, and alterations in socio-economic norms educational routines.

Partially, insufficient preparedness and lack of consensus objectives among international and national healthcare stakeholders contributed to the widespread consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, enacting the Covid Research Act of 2020 can provide ideal opportunities for leveraging scientific data and analytics that would predict trends and forecast emerging diseases to support population-oriented preparedness and response mechanisms. Eventually, this consideration will translate to improved public health and well-being.

The prospective leveraging of computational and networking analytics in tackling emerging infectious diseases derives backing from the current scholarly literature. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO, 2020), predictive analytics entails “statistical analysis that uses data mining, machine learning, and algorithms based on historical series to identify behavior patterns and trends to predict future scenarios” (p. 2). Therefore, this strategy enables healthcare professionals and organizations to estimate the pandemic’s behavior within an acceptable degree of uncertainty by establishing conditions of increases, peaks, and reductions of new cases and deaths, incidences, and mortalities.

Also, applying predictive analytics can inform governments on the ideal timeframes for partially or entirely lifting or revising containment measures such as lockdowns, quarantine, and social distancing (PAHO, 2020). Finally, leveraging predictive analytics helps governments plan for necessary health technology and equipment like personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. As a result, enacting the Covid Research Act of 2020 would significantly inform preventive, response, and recovery measures for emerging infectious diseases.

References

Congress.gov. (2020, April 23). H.R.6599 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Computing Opportunities to Vanquish Infectious Diseases Research Act of 2020. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6599

Liao, C. (2019). Public policy design. In J. A. Milstead, & N. M. Short (Eds.), Health policy and politics: A nurse’s guide (6th ed., pp 87-99). Jones & Bartlett Learning

Pan American Health Organization. (2020). Why predictive modeling is critical in the fight against Covid-19? (pp. 1–4). https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/52276/PAHOEIHISCOVID-19200007_eng.pdf?sequence=8

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