By Barbara Nichols, CDC Office of Public Health Scientific Services, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Division of Health Informatics and Surveillance; and Benjamin Erickson, CDC Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Division of Strategic National Stockpile
In response to inventory and tracking needs identified during the 2009 H1N1 Influenza pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS) partnered with CDC’s Division of Health Information and Surveillance (DHIS) to develop the Inventory Management and Tracking System (IMATS).
IMATS is a free, web-based system that provides automated tracking and management of medical countermeasure inventory at all organizational levels of public health. Each public health department user must complete Secure Access Management Services (SAMS) identity proofing in order to receive access to IMATS. IMATS can be used during daily operations and as part of a public health emergency response. IMATS supports warehouse operations, including receiving, staging, and storing inventory; identifies point-of-dispensing facilities; and tracks how much product is dispensed at each location. IMATS includes a data exchange feature that automatically generates an inventory report in response to an Inventory Data Exchange (IDE) request from CDC. IMATS benefits local health departments by enabling them to quickly respond to inventory requests from the state level with minimal effort.
The IDE process is used by CDC for accepting counts of on-hand inventory items from jurisdictions receiving CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement funding. The 62 PHEP awardees include 50 states, four directly funded localities, and eight U.S. territories.
The IDE process begins when CDC issues an electronic message requesting counts of specific on-hand inventory items. The request will specify the products (e.g., Tamiflu 75 mg capsule) for which counts should be reported and at what frequency a report should be submitted. Awardees with their own inventory management systems must provide counts by electronically transmitting messages via the Public Health Information Network Messaging System (PHINMS) to CDC that show the requested information. The IDE Specification document describes the process used to receive these message requests and to send back report messages. The document also provides tips on how to be prepared for IDE activities in advance of an emergency.
IMATS also enables regional- and local-level jurisdictions that use IMATS or another type of inventory system to send inventory counts to higher level jurisdictions (e.g., from a local warehouse to a state warehouse). State health departments using IMATS to request inventory counts from their local health departments export Excel spreadsheets and send them to the local jurisdictions. As the local jurisdictions complete their spreadsheets, they submit them back to the state health department. The spreadsheets are then easily imported back into IMATS at the state level.
State, local and regional public health departments interested in learning more about IMATS functionality are invited to participate in a 30-day IMATS evaluation. This evaluation period provides an opportunity to review all of the inventory management features available in IMATS. This way, public health departments can make an informed decision about adopting IMATS.
If you are interested in participating in an IMATS evaluation, please choose up to five individuals to participate in the evaluation period and send an email to CTSHelp@cdc.gov.
- Each individual will receive access to the IMATS evaluation version for 30 days (depending on usage, longer periods may be requested).
- Upon completion, each individual will receive a follow-up email that explains the next steps for IMATS adoption.
- If you decide to move forward with system adoption, send an email request to CTSHelp@cdc.gov.