Technology to Aid State Contact Tracing Efforts

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

States are increasingly leveraging technology to help state and local officials trace and contain virus outbreaks – and each state seems to be taking a different approach. Everything from calls and texts to apps and online forms is being used. Patient contact tracing methods vary widely across the states — from centralized tracing by state health departments to decentralized methods that rely on calls and texts sent by individual local health departments.

What’s common is the need for case-management systems that manage interactions and follow-up activities. These systems organize information that contact tracers collect through their outreach, as well as information entered through online portals by citizens themselves.

Data collected by these case management systems can help states identify the total number of cases, hospitalizations, etc., by geography. These systems are typically robust tools that provide everything from analytical dashboards to mass communication tools. But there is so much more states can do with the data by integrating their case management systems with other state-based eligibility and aid systems, such as Medicaid management information systems or unemployment insurance systems — all while protecting sensitive patient information. Read more of this post

How Can Technology Tackle the Lengthy Immigration Process?

By Kevin Shaker, consultant

The United States Digital Service (USDS), founded in 2014 to provide innovative ideas to agencies around IT modernization, is aggressively attempting to streamline the immigration process by implementing electronic forms and doing away with paper-based applications. The goal is to shorten the lengthy process immigrants endure when applying for citizenship and make it less burdensome on government employees as they process immigration and green card applications.

USDS is now working with United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), the DHS agency that handles immigration and naturalization, to reform their application analysis process. The USDS team working on the project is more focused on developing technologies for IT and operations process redesign than pushing immigration policy through Congress. Their goal is to also collaborate with agency higher ups and end users to design and create automated systems that alleviate redundancy.

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