Virginia Department of Health

Use Case: Virginia Department of Health

BACKGROUND

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Virginia Department of Health has played a key role in protecting the health of towns, cities, and counties around the state. In order to mitigate the spread of contagious diseases, VDH utilizes important public health tools such as contact tracing and case investigations to collect data which can be used to inform public health actions, track the progress of the outbreak in Virginia, provide guidance and education around public safety, and connect people with the resources they need.

As the rate of infection spread across the country and across the world, VDH expanded their staff of case investigators and contact tracers from a few hundred to nearly 2,000 employees in order to process the influx of information. However, it was still difficult to process the test results in a timely manner. VDH receives test results from pharmacies, hospitals, and many other sources which all need to be reviewed and processed. Although Electronic Lab Reporting (ELR) accounts for approximately 70% of results, there are still a significant number of test results that are received through fax that are processed manually.

Due to the increasing volumes of results and the time required to manually review those results, VDH faced a backlog of more than 600,000 documents. With the epidemic spreading quickly, there was a pressing need to inform contact tracers of positive test results in order to reduce the number of COVID-related illnesses and deaths

Suresh Soundararajan, Chief Information Officer for the Virginia Department of Health, explains:

Virginia Department of Health IMPLEMENTS RPA

With over 40 lines of business, an increase in staff, and the necessity to process a vast amount of data, the team at VDH recognized the need to reduce the number of employee hours spent on mundane tasks and data entry to allow employees to focus on their specialties.

After researching the use of RPA and AI technologies in the public sector space, VDH engaged Amplitude9 and UiPath to learn how they can save time on manual processes, thereby freeing up employees, including epidemiologists, to complete more critical thinking tasks. The solution was to implement Document Understanding capabilities to process COVID-19 test results by extracting information from required fields in an efficient, cost-saving manner. The automation was designed in a way that test results from pharmacies, hospitals, and other sources are automatically imported into a digital environment where software robots are able to extract and process data, even if the forms have different structure, formatting, or resolution. The robots then deliver the processed documents into the Action Center where humans can validate the data or handle exceptions and outliers. The data is then able to be exported in a variety of formats, including Excel files and HL7 messages. As Mr. Soundararajan notes, the reduction in time spent on data-entry was extremely beneficial for employees, the VDH organization, and the community as a whole.

RESULTS

The organization is able to save thousands of human hours and reduce employee frustration by automating tasks and processes to free up time for critical thinking and creativity.

Most importantly, the organization was also able to reduce the number of backlogged COVID-19 test results. Identifying the positive test results in order to implement contact tracing was like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack of 600,000 administered tests. The ability to process this information in a timely manner has dramatically reduced the negative impact on the community. Virginians rely on the VDH for accurate and up-todate information. Being able to analyze the data and provide recommendations for public health and safety has been paramount in battling this pandemic.

ABOUT AMPLITUDE9

Amplitude9 provides RPA solutions that improve service delivery, reduce organizational costs, and increase employee satisfaction. To learn more about how RPA can transform government organizations and educational institutions, contact a member of the team for your complimentary consultation.

BACKGROUND SNAPSHOT
  • COVID19 infection spread rapidly across the world.
  • VDH expanded case investigators and contact tracers staff from 200 to nearly 2,000.
  • Despite additional staff, VDH was unable to process test results fast enough, as some must be processed manually.
  • Backlog of over 600,000 documents.
RESULTS SNAPSHOT
  • Save thousands of human hours
  • Reduce employee frustration
  • Allow time for critical thinking and creativity
  • Reduction in backlogged results