Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Hasso Plattner

SORMAS - A Management Tool for Containing Infectious Disease Outbreaks

The ongoing Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa and and the possible re-emergence of new Ebola virus infections in countries such as Nigeria require to strengthen the disease surveillance and control capabilities. In October 2014, the Helmholtz Center for Infectious Diseases, Robert Koch Institute, Bernhard Nocht Institute, Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP), Hasso Plattner Institute, and SAP consolidated their efforts and expertise in an interdisciplinary committee to build the Surveillance Outbreak and Response Management System (SORMAS), a management tool to support identifying emerging infections and suspected cases as well as their contacts and leveraging immediate information exchange between all involved parties of outbreak control. 

Members of the project consortium presenting SORMAS (left to right): Cindy Perscheid (HPI), Gérard Krause (HZI), Norbert G. Schwarz (BNI), Wunmi Adeoye (NFELTP), Hermann Claus (RKI), Daniel Tom-Aba (NFELTP).
Bachelor Project Team (left to right): Michael Janke, Janos Brauer, Cindy Perscheid (Supervisor), Arne Mayer, Pascal Crenzin, Martina Grabs, Matthias Uflacker (Supervisor). Not on the picture:Matthieu-P. Schapranow (Supervisor), Dustin Gedlich

Developing a Mobile Application for Contact Tracing

In order to meet the specific technical requirements of West African countries, SORMAS consists of applications for both desktop PCs and Android smartphones that are connected to a central data management platform. In the scope of 2014's Bachelor's Project, HPI students have developed the Android application for tracing contacts of (potentially) infected persons. By regularly visiting and monitoring those contacts for symptoms, healthcare workers can detect new suspected cases early and by that contain further uncontrolled spreading of the disease. The application developed supports those healthcare workers in managing their contacts to visit, entering contact information, and keeping track of their development throughout the monitoring process. Suspected cases will be detected automatically and be forwarded to the responsible authorities to take corresponding measures.


  • We have our final workshop on SORMAS coming up on Oct 20-22, 2015! Project members from Germany, USA, and Nigeria are gathering at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Brunswick to sum up our experiences and evaluation results from the pilot in Nigeria. Results will be separately published in Journals, so stay tuned for our results!
  • The piloting finished at the end of July 2015! Now we are having a look at the gathered data and evaluate our pilot results - stay tuned!
  • We are preparing for the pilot starting at June 1st 2015! Right now in May, trainings in Kano and Oyo states are ongoing to show health workers how to work with SORMAS.
  • We will present our project at SAPPHIRE in Orlando, which takes place from 5-7 May 2015! Make sure to visit the HPI booth 200 and get a hands-on experience on our contact tracing app!
  • Our latest findings are published in the March issue of the Euro Surveillance journal. Read online.
  • We had the honor to present SORMAS to the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, at her CeBIT visit on Mar 16, 2015.
  • We present SORMAS' contact tracing app at the CeBIT 2015 in Hanover from Mar 16-20. Come and visit us at the HPI booth D-44 (Hall 9).
  • We are having a pre-release of SORMAS in Nigeria on Mar 11-13, 2015. Healthcare workers can try out the system on their own and are trained for the field test in April.
  • We have an upcoming workshop at the HPI from Feb 9-13, 2015, where we show the first version of the contact tracing app to the committee members and invited guests from Nigeria.
  • We finished defining all processes in Ebola outbreak management and involved personas, from which we derived the requirements for SORMAS. Now we can start to build the system.
  • The HZI has released the official SORMAS project page in Dec 2014, providing latest work results and details on the system - check it out.
  • Our Nigerian colleagues present the current project status to members of the Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria on Dec 11, 2014.
  • Our Nigerian colleagues from NFELTP conduct a workshop at Abuja (Nigeria) on Nov 6, 2014, to gather hands-on experience from the Ebola outbreak and by that collect requirements for SORMAS.
  • The project kick-off workshop took place at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam on Oct 29-30, 2014.

Press Feedback

  • Nov 13, 2015: The business supplement of the Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten (PNN) features an article about our student team who developed the contact tracing app. Read online (last page).
  • Oct 09, 2015: Healthcare in Europe hast published another article about SORMAS. Read online.
  • Jun 30, 2015: Diginomica has published an article about SORMAS. Read online.
  • May 3, 2015: Another article has been published about SORMAS in the Ärztezeitung. Read online.
  • Apr 28, 2015: We will be featured in the TV news at Potsdam TV - stay tuned for the release date!
  • Apr 15, 2015: SORMAS is featured in the newsletter of the Berufsverband der Hygieneinspektoren. Read online.
  • Mar 24, 2015: The Ärztezeitung has published an article about our app. Read online.
  • Mar 18, 2015: Technology Times has published an article about the app and our showcasing at CeBIT. Read online.
  • Mar 17, 2015: Inforadio has published an interview with Cindy Fähnrich, one of our project supervisors. Listen to the interview (German).
  • Mar 17, 2015: Ingenieur.de has published an article on our activities at CeBIT. Read online.
  • Mar 16, 2015: Der Tagesspiegel has published an article about the contact tracing app. Read online.
  • Mar 16, 2015: The Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten has published an article about the contact tracing app and our activities at CeBIT 2015. Read online.
  • Mar 10, 2015: We are featured in the TV news at RBB zibb in preparation for the CeBIT.