The Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with Parkland Health & Hospital System announced the launch of an automated contact locator system.
Called COVID-19 Confidential Contact Tracing and Reporting System, it was developed by Parkland and the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation.
The news of the association and the project were announced on Thursday afternoon, where county and hospital leaders demonstrated the software and smartphone application behind the system.
The way it works is that the software delivers email or text messages to people identified as positive COVID-19, asking them to provide contact information for the people they’ve been in contact with for the past 14 days. Once this is done, the system sends daily text messages, in English or Spanish, to each of these people for 14 days, asking them to report any symptoms of COVID-19 that they may develop.
“Dallas County contact trackers can focus their efforts on direct follow-up as needed to assist each person with vital health care information about COVID-19,” said DCHHS. “If someone being monitored develops symptoms, they can be sent for COVID testing and care.”
“Contact tracing is a proven and true public health activity that DCHHS uses every day to help contain communicable diseases like tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and others,” said Philip Huang, MD, MPH, Director, Dallas County Health and Human Services. . “This system will allow us to escalate these contact locating activities to reach the large number of cases that we are seeing with COVID-19 and to use new technologies to follow up on community members who may have been exposed to COVID-19” .
The county said the system can send daily text messages to those asking them to report any symptoms they may develop.
The health department said it will use traditional methods such as telephone and in-person contact for those who do not receive text messages or emails.
A pilot of the automated contact tracking system went live on June 22.
“Parkland developed the system to help DCHHS be as efficient and effective as possible by offering a solution to automate much of the vital work of contact trackers,” said Brett Moran, MD, SVP, Associate Medical Director and Chief Information Officer. Parkland physician. “We all must work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Tracking contacts with COVID-19 and your close contacts is essential to help delay the transmission of COVID-19 in our community and to help protect those who matter to us from contracting this disease. ”
“This is a significant next step in proactive management of the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology is a critical enabler and we are excited to be able to use the infrastructure and analytics already built for geographic location algorithms and real-time geographic mapping to accelerate the implementation of contact tracking. Together with our partners, we can provide and maintain the highest levels of data security to protect individual privacy and confidentiality, “said Steve Miff, PhD, CEO, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation.