The Public Health’s Solution to Patient and Contact Tracking

Walkthrough more video clips of the patient and contact tracking process below.

“When it comes to global health, there is no ‘them’ – only ‘us.’” – The Global Health Council

The novel Coronavirus pandemic has waged a war on humanity. While heroic frontline hospital workers treat COVID patients, the rest of the world stepped up to the plate asking, “what can we do to stop the spread?”

Among the first to respond was The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) who, understanding the limitless capacity of their existing workflow system, stood up an expanded, end-to-end patient and contact tracking application in just over a week. Integrated with ESRI, MDSS (Michigan’s public health records system) and the survey platform Qualtrics, Ottawa County immediately began surveying new patients, tracing contacts and high-risk populations, and building an interconnected public health community of nurses, epidemiologists, environmental health professionals and more to flatten the curve

Benefits Going Viral

The secure, web-based solution allows the public health team remote access to critical information across multiple systems. This includes daily survey responses from patients and contacts via email or SMS, seamless integration with the state’s public health reporting system and, ultimately, the CDC. Up-to-the-minute reporting, stronger data accuracy and increased visibility for health care professionals are just a few of the benefits born out of these sequential, digital transformations. Most importantly, streamlined data capture and automated reporting frees nurses from repetitive, time-consuming data entry and allows more time to be spent on the critical, human elements of care, including talking with new patients and tracing their contacts, prioritizing case investigations and follow-ups, guiding the ill through proper treatment and isolation practices, and connecting patients with resources to meet their medical needs without needing to break isolation.

To date, the OCDPH has administered more than 20,000 virtual surveys. With a 91 percent response rate, over 2,800 hours of medical attention have been returned to patient care.

Most incredible is that the OCDPH team single-handedly built this system within the capacity of their own staff and resources. Understanding the comprehensive power of their existing digital solution and identifying the current obstacles slowing patient care laid the groundwork for this transformative tracking application. As the curve continues to flatten, OCDPH nurses are already encouraging the solution’s long-term purpose in the public health realm, saying, “we can use this for so much more than just the COVID crisis.”

A Step-by-Step Walkthrough to Your County’s Public Health Solution

In their efforts to build a more interconnected healthcare community, The Ottawa County Department of Public Health has graciously created two short videos explaining how any public health department can integrate their own patient and contact tracking application with state record systems and survey tools.

  • Integrating State Reporting Systems with OnBase
  • Survey Response Integrations


This two-minute demonstration illustrates how the OnBase solution works together with the state’s records management system to continuously generate and update case information. And because the state’s record system is the foundational source of data, any updates or changes to the state system will override and update the corresponding information field in OnBase.


In five minutes, viewers will learn how survey software works together with OnBase to successfully reach, administer and collect survey data from patients and their contacts. Automated workflows with pre-determined triggers allow large volumes of data, including symptoms and trends, to be collected daily, giving medical staff visibility into worsening patients and/or high-risk populations.

Yes, There’s More!

If you find yourself wanting to learn more, you’re in luck! First, check out this article giving a more detailed walkthrough of the OCDPH’s story. When you’re ready for more capability play-by-plays, please send us a brief message through webchat or send us a message. We’ll gladly sent you some tutorials on:

  • • Automated data succession through filtered inboxes
  • • WorkView’s case management system
  • • Moving cases and contacts through proper sequences
  • • Adding contacts to cases
  • • Turning a contact into a case
  • • Parceling down searches with filters
Quotes

"To date, 91 percent of the more than 20,000 surveys administered have been completed, returning more than 2,800 hours back to patient care. ”

— The Ottawa County Department of Public Health