Panel Paper: Public Health Emergency Response Coordination: Put The Plan Into Practice

Saturday, November 10, 2018
Jackson - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Minyoung Ku, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, SeongSoo Oh, Hanyang University and Yushim Kim, Arizona State University

Insufficient specifications about the public health emergency coordination involving government entities have been criticized as a contributing factor to managerial and institutional shortcomings. In response, this study analyzed the coordination plan and actions taken during the 2015 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-Cov; MERS) in South Korea. Using novel network data, this analysis showed a low congruence between the response coordination networks planned and those carried out. In this paper, we constructed and compared the response networks intended and implemented by linking relational data extracted from multiple archival sources. That is, two sets of four operation networks from plans and actual response data were identified and analyzed—i.e., suspected case reporting, diagnostic test, epidemiology investigation, and patient management. The response plans included 16 core actor groups – i.e., groups of organizations such as local health clinics, fire stations, hospitals, etc., while actual response data included 34 actor groups (i.e., 18 emergent groups). Response coordination plans were enacted better in the reporting (r=0.31) and patient management operations (r=0.33), but to a lesser extent in the diagnostic test (r=0.27) and epidemiology investigation operations (r=0.18). Unrealized or newly emerging relations among planned actors contributed to the low congruence. The plan also overlooked the role and relationships of several intermediaries between local actors and national actors in the government system. The broad implication is that public health emergency preparedness and response agencies may be cognizant of its blind spots in drawing the boundaries between, and relationships of, core and emergent actors in emergency planning.