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Digital workflows help Washington State respond to COVID-19


In a pandemic, it’s critical for government agencies and healthcare providers to mobilize quickly. Washington State is ground zero in the United States for COVID-19 where the first US deaths were reported in February 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Since then the disease has spread to nearly every state in the country, and is now a global pandemic.

Health officials have been working around the clock to contain the virus. The Washington State response team, made up of more than 150 people at any given time, is geographically dispersed. As they try to contain the virus, they have been working 12-hour shifts and seven days straight before a break.

State agencies, emergency responders and public health professionals quickly assembled an incident management structure to lead the outbreak response. Using the Now Platform® from ServiceNow, a team helmed by Department of Health CIO Jennifer McNamara was able to develop an app to digitize processes that allowed officials to quickly resource critical positions on the incident management team.

McNamara’s team created an Emergency Response Operations app on the Now Platform to manage their own COVID-19 situation, and they are donating it for use by other organizations and public agencies. This app helps optimize resources and staff in critical locations. It also supports operational processes of emergency response and preparedness at the state and local government level, which may be following national standards or guidelines, in incident planning and activation. This app will always be free.

Along with quickly helping outbreak response and mitigating its spread and impact, the app has helped McNamara’s team apply for the maximum federal reimbursement for incident expenditures. They are now building on the success of this phase by automating other incident management functions such as resource demobilization, planning, logistics, and finance.

Digitizing these critical workflows should allow the team to spend less time managing logistical details, while they work to contain the outbreak and help people in need. 

 

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