Article Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Sacramento County Public Health is making the COVID-19 case investigation process more efficient by launching a new solution to streamline its COVID-19 contact tracing. The new program powered by Qualtrics allows the department to contact individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and anonymously notify those they have been in contact with about exposure to the virus.
Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 can confidentially share information about individuals they have had contact with and locations they have visited through the new and easy to use platform.
Data collected is then used to automate the process to notify impacted individuals by email or text that they may have been exposed and the next steps to take to maintain safety while also maintaining individual confidentiality. All data from the health assessment and contact tracing process are compliant with Federal, State and local privacy laws. The solution does not employ automatic location tracking technology.
“We are excited to start implementing this new platform, the quicker confirmed cases can begin isolating, the better we will be at preventing outbreaks in Sacramento County.”SACRAMENTO COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER DR. OLIVIA KASIRYE
Personal health information from positive cases will not be shared with contacts at any time, and the tracing portion of the online program is opt-in, however, those who do not respond will still receive a phone call from a contact tracing investigator.
Below is an example of the contact tracing email Sacramento County Public Health will send:
Please answer this health assessment from the Sacramento County Health Department. You are receiving this assessment because you may have either tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) or may have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. This assessment should only take 5-10 minutes to complete. The information you provide the County Health Department in this assessment will help to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19. All information that you provide is confidential and will be protected to keep your personal information private.If you have any questions about providing this information or wish to confirm the validity of this e-mail, please contact our team at COVID19@saccounty.net or visit the Sacramento County COVID-19 webpage.
The questionnaire will be sent as an email or text and the COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers will have the option to contact individuals directly when appropriate, such as cases involving congregate facilities or for specific follow-up to certain responses provided in the automated questionnaire.
The custom-built solution and three years of support services will cost $1.6 M and is anticipated to save money over time with the reduction in the number of investigators/tracers positions that would be needed. Sacramento County is also exploring possible add-ons of creating a portal for schools and businesses to submit contacts into the system and an automated system for referring some respondents to wrap-around services.
Find more about the County’s response to COVID-19, by visiting Sacramento County’s COVID-19 webpage.
Qualtrics experience management technology is used by more than 350 state and local governments throughout the US. Their contact tracing solution helps governments streamline and automate the contact tracing process. All solutions are built on the Qualtrics XM Platform, which maintains the highest security certifications including ISO 27001 and FedRAMP. Qualtrics is also HITRUST certified, which means its technology platform provides customers the tools they need to manage HIPAA compliance. To learn more, please visit their website.