Dr. Charity Dean, as a leader in the California Department of Public Health, saw the COVID-19 pandemic coming before government agencies and leaders of other formal systems took notice and took action. As she struggled to make a difference – initially in her state’s pandemic response and later in the country’s response – she learned key lessons about the limitations of government. She saw the need for new systems that operate in real time.
She also discovered that leaders of global companies were largely on their own during the crisis, but she realized that they held the solution to their own challenges – if they could get the information they needed from a trusted source. Working to solve this problem for businesses became her next big challenge.
In a new book, Lessons from the COVID War, Dr. Dean shares the lessons she learned during the pandemic and is joined by 33 other writers to explore how we can improve biorisk assessment and response in the future.
The book presents 10 key lessons in layman’s language. The authors approach their task from a scientific and public health perspective, and they offer insights on actions we can take to improve outcomes in the future.
Our current systems – healthcare, security, public health intelligence, crisis management and software systems – were built to solve 19th century problems, and they were not able to meet the challenges of this pandemic effectively. National and international systems that provide timely, accurate and integrated information are needed to get better outcomes.
Through her direct experience with COVID-19, Dr. Dean recognized the need for an automated system where global information is collected from thousands of data points and distilled rapidly. She visualized a comprehensive platform, built for the 21st Century using artificial intelligence and machine learning, that would allow leaders to manage risks at scale, adjusting to new information rapidly. She envisioned a system that could transform scattered global data into actionable intelligence so that leaders can manage disease and biological risk proactively. This vision became the birth of the Public Health Company and the PHC Pharos platform.
Marrying multiple fields including the newest technology and the latest in epidemiology, data science and infectious disease research is groundbreaking. It is hard work creating something that has not been done before. It is also exactly what countries, leaders and people managers globally need to prepare for and respond to future biorisks. The Public Health Company provides an early warning system and intelligence from multiple trusted sources across the world to support informed decision-making by leaders.