Publicly available software tools for decision-makers during an emergent epidemic—Systematic evaluation of utility and usability
Epidemics and emerging infectious diseases are becoming an increasing threat to global populations—challenging public health practitioners, decision makers and researchers to plan, prepare, identify and respond to outbreaks in near real-timeframes. The aim of this research is to evaluate the range of public domain and freely available software epidemic modelling tools. Twenty freely utilisable software tools underwent assessment of software usability, utility and key functionalities. Stochastic and agent based tools were found to be highly flexible, adaptable, had high utility and many features, but low usability. Deterministic tools were highly usable with average to good levels of utility.