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When the City of New Haven found itself fighting COVID-19, its Health Department needed to ramp up its monitoring and response capability quickly to respond to the pandemic. Their goal was to create a COVID-19 Unified Command System that allowed a centralized digital system to track the spread of the virus that could be shared within appropriate City Departments. They were able to address this urgent and unprecedented emergency management challenge with the help of Veoci, a global emergency management software provider based in New Haven.
The Health Department needed to organize and track the flood of calls coming in due to the pandemic. Residents throughout New Haven sought information about the outbreak and those showing symptoms needed support. Aware that Veoci software - developed by an experienced team from Yale and GE - had been used by the City of New Haven since Hurricane Sandy, the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Department turned to Veoci for help.
Within hours of the City reaching out, the Veoci team was working with Brian Weeks, the Health Department’s Epidemiologist and Director of Nursing Jennifer Vazquez to set up the solution and begin using it to systematically track reported infections and monitor symptoms on an individualized basis; track the number of calls per day and the details and resolutions of each call; and field any questions, suggest testing and provide support. “They also created a city-wide collaborative process for following up on symptomatic cases,” added Nathaniel Ellis, Director of Strategic Solutions and Co-founder of Veoci.
Responders filled out a customizable form feeding into a database where the data was stored, shared, aggregated and displayed on a dashboard for a comprehensive view of information related to the outbreak. High priority calls were automatically pushed to the epidemiologist or head nurse.
Embedded maps displayed where each call was coming from, making it easier for officials to identify high risk areas, detect trends, and direct their efforts where they are needed most. Integration with text messaging and phone calls for follow-ups were also built in for 40 public health nurses and 140+ volunteers using the system.
The solution also helped facilitate the department’s contact tracing efforts - a focused strategy that involves identifying and contacting anyone an infected individual has come into direct contact with - to stop the spread of the disease.
“Veoci helped us quickly scale our system to better manage the onslaught of calls,” said New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond. “With their guidance, we were able to make continuous and rapid changes internally, using feedback from everyone involved. Within a short time, department nurses, epidemiologists, and staff were fielding calls in an organized, efficient way despite the tumultuous nature of this public health emergency.”
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, deployment of Veoci solutions has skyrocketed among Veoci’s 300 customers in the United States and abroad. Since February 2020, Veoci customers have implemented over 400 new solutions. States and counties increasingly need to aggregate information from municipalities and organizations for seamless, real-time data sharing and message communication capability among entities by web, email, text messaging, phone, voice or video conferencing.
Ellis said Veoci is both honored and proud to have created a software solution that enabled the New Haven Health Department to meet the emergent demands of the COVID-19 crisis with confidence, knowing every call was being documented, tracked, and followed-up on appropriately.
“New Haven has been our home for nearly a decade, so supporting the City’s response to this urgent public health crisis had special significance for us” he said. “That we were able to do so without upending the City budget means even more. No client or prospective client has decided against our solutions because of cost.”
In Connecticut, Veoci has 2,600 unique registered users at 22 organizations. These include Yale-New Haven Hospital and Hartford Hospital, which combined account for over 80 percent of healthcare services in the state. In addition, Veoci has worked with the City of New Haven in the City Plan Commission, Community Services Administration, Economic Development Administration, Finance, Fire, Office of Emergency Management, Public Works, Transportation, Traffic & Parking and Youth Services.
Veoci also counts the City of Bridgeport, the towns of Guilford, Trumbull, and Kent among its clients in Connecticut.
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