Development of the Inventory Management and Tracking System (IMATS) to Track the Availability of Public Health Department Medical Countermeasures During Public Health Emergencies

Liora Sahar, Guy Faler, Emil Hristov, Susan Hughes, Leslie Lee, Caroline Westnedge, Benjamin Erickson, Barbara Nichols


Objective: To bridge  gaps identified during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic by  developing a system that provides public health departments improved capability to manage and track medical countermeasures at the state and local levels and to report their inventory levels to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Materials and Methods: The CDC Countermeasure Tracking Systems (CTS) program designed and implemented the Inventory Management and Tracking System (IMATS) to manage, track, and report medical countermeasure inventories at the state and local levels. IMATS was designed by CDC in collaboration with state and local public health departments to ensure a “user-centered design approach.” A survey was completed to assess functionality and user satisfaction.

Results: IMATS was deployed in September 2011 and is provided at no cost to public health departments. Many state and local public health departments nationwide have adopted IMATS and use it to track countermeasure inventories during public health emergencies and daily operations.  

Discussion:  A successful response to public health emergencies requires efficient, accurate reporting of countermeasure inventory levels. IMATS is designed to support both emergency operations and everyday activities. Future improvements to the system include integrating barcoding technology and streamlining user access. To maintain system readiness, we continue to collect user feedback, improve technology, and enhance its functionality.  

Conclusion: IMATS satisfies the need for a system for monitoring and reporting health departments’ countermeasure quantities so that decision makers are better informed. The “user-centered design approach” was successful, as evident by the many public health departments that adopted IMATS.

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Online Journal of Public Health Informatics * ISSN 1947-2579 *