When PubSEG launched our new contact tracing and disease case investigation platform last fall, we knew it would be a gamechanger for ourselves, our clients, and the communities our clients serve.
But we didn’t realize just how much of a gamechanger.
“It has definitely surpassed my expectations,” says Dawn Stolte, PubSEG’s Senior VP of Operations. “I knew it would be able to do a lot of things. But it’s doing much more than I thought it could do.”
The platform, rebranded as “PubSEG Connect” at the start of this year, is a fully customizable, HIPAA-compliant software that can be used for contact tracing, vaccine verification, test results, secure messaging, daily health screenings and surveys, customized reporting and alerts, interactive visual mapping, and just about any other disease case investigation function an organization might need.
Our extensive contact tracing experience throughout the ever-evolving COVID 19 pandemic left us with a solid grasp of what we and our clients were looking for in a tool like this, and our team worked closely with an outside developer to ensure that PubSEG Connect would meet all those needs … and more.
“This was created by contact tracers for contact tracers,” Dawn says. “We used our knowledge from the programs we worked on, and from the contact tracing experiences we had, to make sure it would accommodate our clients’ needs. Everyone had input into the software—it was truly a group effort.”
PubSEG Connect allows us to provide a wide range of services for our clients. But for organizations looking to handle disease case investigation on their own, the platform is also available as a stand-alone purchase.
Dawn and other members of the PubSEG leadership team recently spoke about some of the many ways the platform has positively impacted our disease case investigation work. Here are five examples of PubSEG Connect’s capabilities:
1. Sharing and Receiving Vital Information Faster
Contact tracing, at its core, is about protecting people via communication. Tracers must communicate vital information about next steps to positive cases and close contacts, and in return, those people have to be willing to answer questions that will help protect others.
Taking steps to increase the ease and frequency of these exchanges of information can quite literally save lives. PubSEG Connect accomplishes this through secure, easily accessible electronic intake forms available through widgets on our clients’ websites. This allows people to report their test results, symptoms, close contacts, and more with minimal time and effort.
“One of the best things about the platform is we’re able to locate and notify close contacts as soon as someone submits a form,” says Holly Romond, one of PubSEG’s supervisors. “Getting information out there as fast as possible is extremely important.”
2. Reducing the Reliance on Phone Calls
In the first year of the pandemic, many contact tracers relied first and foremost on phone calls to reach people, even if getting them to answer was often a hit-or-miss proposition. The omicron surge in 2021 made such reliance on the phone untenable—there were simply too many cases to connect with everybody that way.
As one PubSEG client transitioned toward relying on electronic intakes instead, we realized that any disease case investigation platform would need to make efficient use of this practice.
“We’ve been able to contact so many more people because of the ease of use of these E-intakes,” says Manager of Operations Harley Myers. “People can even fill out the forms on their cellphones if they want to. So many people are hesitant to answer the phone these days. Everybody’s lives are so busy, they already don’t feel good, so it’s no surprise they don’t want to talk on the phone. This just makes it that much easier for people to contact us.”
3. Fully Secure Messaging
With PubSEG Connect, the public never has to worry about their protected health information or any other personal data slipping through the cracks. Both the software and our server are fully HIPAA complaint, and all PubSEG employees receive ongoing HIPAA training.
People are informed via email when they have a secure message waiting for them (for example, telling someone they’ve been exposed to COVID, or telling an employer a worker tested positive and needs to quarantine), and they can only access that message by logging onto the platform. PubSEG Connect then allows people to respond to these messages and ask any questions via equally secure communication.
4. Prioritizing the Right Cases
All COVID-19 cases and exposures are a serious matter, but they don’t all require the same level of urgency. PubSEG Connect allows us to prioritize the order in which we reach out to people, based on parameters laid out by our clients.
“The platform distributes the names for us based on how the client sets things up,” Holly says. “This ensures we’re able to reach out to the people we need to speak with right away.”
5. Streamlining all Processes
This is kind of a catchall summary of the platform’s capabilities, but the bottom line is it really does make every aspect of contact tracing and disease case management more efficient and effective. PubSEG Connect allows us to dramatically reduce the burden on colleges and universities, K-12 schools, counties, and towns that remain committed to slowing the spread of the virus. The platform is fully automated, reducing the risk of human error and ensuring that everything is available in one place.
“A lot of times when we meet with clients, their contact tracing has a lot of different moving pieces, whatever their current process is,” Harley says. “What we’ve been able to do with PubSEG Connect is to simplify the entire process to keep all the data in one place. We run reports out of here, so you don’t have to keep track in an Excel spreadsheet somewhere else. And the communication is all in one place, which is really important.”
Continues Harley: “PubSEG Connect really and truly does what is needed for contact tracers, and it makes things that much easier and more efficient and effective for the public. To think what it’s able to do in terms of reporting capabilities, mapping capabilities, as well as separate capabilities for administrative access for clients, it really surpasses anything I’ve seen currently in existence.”
If you’d like to learn more about how PubSEG Connect can benefit your organization, please contact us at 856-240-8117 or email email@example.com. We’re always excited to talk about the platform’s ability to help limit the spread of COVID-19.