Jul 07 2020 Understanding How MicroAutomation is Providing Assistance to Public Health Agencies With Contact Tracing


This blog post will provide education and exploration around the following topics:

  • The OmniMonitor Software-as-a Service (SaaS) for Public Health Overview
  • How MicroAutomation’s (MAI) Omnichannel Illness Monitoring Solution Makes a Difference
  • Understanding the OmniMonitor User Experience
  • Why OmniMonitor Is Delivering Consistently for Our Public Health Agencies
  • Why Automation and Omnichannel Makes Such an Impact

MicroAutomation’s OmniMonitor Omnichannel Illness Monitoring Solution Overview

MicroAutomation, Inc. has had the honor of supporting a key Federal public health agency through the Prime Contractor Vigilant Watch Inc., a long standing Federal/Public Health  Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and an acknowledged thought leader and expert dedicated to serving non-profits, government and corporations. Through VWI, MicroAutomation is providing a text platform that can serve all 50 States, U.S. Territorial, and Local Public Health Services. MicroAutomation has been a part of the team that delivered a fully automated monitoring system for potential COVID-19 patients via a new upgraded illness monitoring system that can also provide omnichannel (text, voice calls, email, or social media) messaging.

This system provides support to many public health agencies and other Federal Government organizations that are currently responding to the COVID-19 pandemic or have the need to monitor their personnel’s health.

Our Public Health partners have employed this economical and accurate omnichannel illness monitoring system to:

  • reduce unnecessary taxpayer expenditures for separate systems for each jurisdiction
  • leverage the efficiencies of the standard texting/SMS technology on smartphones
  • reduce the cost of collecting the most effortless responses from participants

This cost-effective platform is saving those agencies more than 95% of the cost of every interaction when you compare the very low cost of a text vs. the much higher cost of even just the shortest 30-second phone call by a human to gather the same information.   

The OmniMonitor system enables any health agency to automatically text any smartphone user once/day to ask relevant health questions of the public or employees of the agency, such as whether they have become symptomatic of COVID-19.

OmniMonitor currently runs hundreds of simultaneous campaigns for various jurisdictions and can also accommodate hundreds of administrators to self-manage this high-capacity, cloud-based text system that is designed to deliver 20 million or more text messages/month to an unlimited number of participants.

How OmniMonitor Makes a Difference

The OmniMonitor service is an ideal example of automated efficiency to reduce taxpayer cost and provides real-time dashboard statistics, exception/ symptom alerts and reports to enable timely/the most accurate reporting of any result, such as trends, active participants, graphical representation of results, as well as ad-hoc reports using easy to follow self-service protocols. Complete daily and full campaign reports are generated in any historical time frame desired and on-demand requests can be made at any time.

Figure 1: Sample OmniMonitor Dashboard Graphics

Understanding the OmniMonitor User Experience

Campaigns can be set up for internal employees of the organization, which is an innovative way that the executives or administrative personnel can monitor their deployed staff around the nation to enable real-time views of their agency employee infection rate.

Alternately, external/public participants can be enrolled in a campaign via the designated administrator uploading a list or they can self-enroll by texting an advertised, or provided, key word to a given campaign telephone number.

Every participant receives a text inquiry daily to establish if they are experiencing any symptoms. If a participant does not respond before a set time of day, they will receive a “reminder” text. If they still do not answer, an alert is sent to the agency administrator who is running the campaign, for direct follow-up to determine why the participant is not responding.

This innovative text system with a hierarchical administrative interface to enable the roll-up of monitoring results to the county, state or national level, could also be utilized by individual or multi-national companies, as well as educational institutions to monitor their employees, contractors or students.

Due to the overseas nature of some of the U.S. Territories and deployment of some agency/service staff to foreign countries, international text delivery to non-U.S. numbers is an integral feature of the OmniMonitor system.

Why OmniMonitor Is Delivering Consistently to Public Health Agencies

The simplicity of a daily text is a superior approach to any monitoring programs that depend on participants to go to a website, respond to emails or proactively send a daily email themselves, which would not be nearly as accurate or complete due to lower response rates.

I would personally always respond to a text, especially from my company/agency or where I am a student, whereas I may or may not respond to an email, much less remember to send an email if a less automated system was utilized.

Public Health officials from many public health agencies regularly meet with both the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) to coordinate with all levels of the U.S. public health organizations, where the OmniMonitor system is socialized, receives feedback for Continuous Improvements and is offered as a service to reduce the budget strains caused by the current pandemic on all of these agencies.

The OmniMonitor system is so flexible that it can accommodate a common occurrence where a household with multiple potential COVID-19 patients might only have a single cellphone, especially when younger children are part of the family unit.

Even further than just illness monitoring, the flexibility of the system means that text-alternatives can be provided to meet any requirements. Automated voice calls can be made to non-smartphone participants, such as the elderly, who will answer a phone call, but do not text. The automated voice call uses advanced speech recognition (ASR) to understand the spoken responses. The system can also utilize email and even social media, in cases where alternates or multiple channels are required to maximize response rates.

Why Automation and Omnichannel Makes Such an Impact

This omnichannel capability opens up an entirely new avenue to provide maximum cost effectiveness to the very large, and necessary, Contact Tracing programs currently being contemplated, if not already implemented, in every state, territory and city/county in the United States to limit further spread of COVID-19.

Currently, NACCHO has requested $7.6B in additional funding from Congress for 100,000 contact tracing personnel and an article in Politico estimates that 300,000 personnel are needed, which will all be a very expensive proposition for taxpayers, regardless of the right number needed.

However, an automated system (like the OmniMonitor service) could cut upwards of 65% of the cost of all these live agents making manual phone calls to both interview and monitor identified contacts.

Instead of highly repetitive and unnecessarily expensive calls for 14-days to determine whether a contact has become symptomatic or even to conduct interviews to fill in the CDC’s Human Infection with 2019 Novel Coronavirus Case Report Form, OmniMonitor can make text or automated voice call connections with the very large number of contacts required at a small fraction of the cost and in a more accurate/disciplined fashion, than human agents.

By utilizing technology and automation, contact tracing personnel can focus on the more complicated interviews or directly speak with the exceptions that are not able to utilize the automated system. This will significantly stretch each budget dollar and will result in a much more efficient contact tracing program that will save more lives and reduce infections by preventing further spread of COVID-19.