LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Evaluating a Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP): A Pilot Project

The research question that this pilot project looks to answer is “Can biosurveillance algorithms coupled with pervasive mobile application for data collection potentially be effective in the early detection of disease outbreaks?”

The problem faced by the Epidemiology Unit Officials in India and Sri Lanka is receiving health information in a timely manner in order to prevent diseases reaching epidemic states as it was with the case of the Chickungunya viral fever in both countries in the recent past. The current Communicable Disease Notification Paper System for “situational awareness” does not provide the much needed “real-time” information flow and analysis.

The real-time communication shortcomings can be easily overcome with reliable and robust Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Intelligent Software. Proposed Surveillance and Alerting System will provide for the execution of decision analyses of the assessment and response problem faced by the epidemiology units. Government Health-care Worker based sensor system and deployment of advanced detection algorithms such as Spatial-Temporal Scanning, Bayesian modeling and Multi-Stream real-time monitoring of the collected surveillance data will provide the epidemiology units with the tools to combat the real-time detection and communication dilemma.

There are proven solutions in the world of implementations or research on the individual components of disease information acquisition technologies, differential diagnosis type analysis, and early warning communication systems. However, this will be the first project of this nature to field-test an integrated end-to-end operational system with mobile phones and intelligent software for real-time disease-surveillance and outbreak-early-warnings in the last-mile communities of a developing nation in the Asia region.

The pilot project will be carried out in a selected province in Sri Lanka and in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. Each country will nominate four healthcare divisional areas and four village level healthcare workers in each division to participate in the research. The healthcare workers will cover a total of thirty-two villages in the respective areas. This is a Multi-Partner Pilot Project to be carried out over a period of two years to accomplish the four research components –

(I) Establish the mobile-based communications system
(II) Introduce the computer-based detection system
(III) Implement the e-Health-based surveillance and notification system
(IV) Evaluate the system over a one-year period

Please click on the following links for further information:

Final technical report* | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 |

*Due to file size restrictions, the quality of the images in the files associated with the technical report were reduced to <5%. However you may obtain a complete copy of the technical report here.

RTBP concept note
Complete project proposal
RTBP work plan v0.2


Journal articles/publications
Sahana Alerting Module for Real-Time Bio-surveillance in India and Sri Lanka: lessons learned
Using mobile phones in a Real-Time Biosurveillance Program: Lessons from the frontlines in Sri Lanka and India
ASH mHealth Compendium Third Edition pg. 28-29


1) Tamil Nadu Health and Family Welfare Department, India

2) Wayamba (Northwestern) Provincial Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

3) Indian Institute of Technology – Madras’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator, India

4) Carnegie Mellon University Auton Lab, USA

5) National Center for Biological Sciences, India

6) Sarvodaya Shramadana Society, Sri Lanka

7) Respere Lanka (Private) Limited, Sri Lanka

8) University of Alberta, Gordon Gow, Canada


Software Specifications
1) User Requirement Specifications
2) Software Requirement Specifications

User Manuals
1) mHealthSurvey mobile application

1.1) Comprehensive User Guide

1.2) Quick Reference Guide

2) T-Cube Web Interface (TCWI) visual analytics

2.1) Comprehensive User Guide

2.2) Quick Reference Guide

3) Sahana Alerting Broker

3.1) Comprehensive User Guide

3.2) Quick Reference Guide



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