Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Tools for Epidemiologists

CSTE is providing resources to support the anticipated massive expansion of case investigation and contact tracing capacity in public health agencies. CSTE has compiled selected resources for epidemiologists in two broad categories: digital assistant tools for case investigators and contact tracers and workforce training resources. Please note this list is not comprehensive and these products are not necessarily endorsed by CSTE. For questions about either digital contact tracing tools or workforce training and resources, email CSTEcovid-19@cste.org.

Digital Tools to Assist with COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Digital Tools to Assist with COVID-19 Contact Tracing

CDC has developed preliminary criteria for the evaluation of digital contact tracing tools for COVID-19. The linked PDF lists minimum and preferred criteria for two categories of contact tracing technology: those for case management and those for proximity tracking.

CSTE has hosted demonstrations and presentations on a few digital tools to share information and state’s experiences utilizing various platforms and tools for COVID-19 case investigation, management, and contact tracing. See recordings of presentations below:

 

Exposure Notification White Paper & Contact Tracing Tool Assessment Report – PHII

The Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII) convened a forum of public health experts and technology vendors to help coordinate the use and further development of digital tools in support of contact tracing. The forum focused on two key outcomes: to develop guidance that assists public health professionals’ understanding of the current marketplace of digital contact tracing tools, and to ensure technology vendors understand public health privacy needs and standards as they build these tools.

 

Contact Tracing Issue Guide & Solutions Data Sheet – ASTHO

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) released an issue guide to support state health officials, public health experts, and policy leaders in understanding the evolving role and functions of digital technologies in COVID-19 contact tracing and case investigation, including mobile phone-based exposure notification apps.

ASTHO has also taken an active role in tracking all the new technologies that health agencies are purchasing, considering, or repurposing to assess how well they are working for the jurisdiction and whether that system can connect data across jurisdictions and in support of national response efforts.

 

Experian 

CSTE is working to provide designated users representing state, large local, and territorial health agencies as well as Tribal Epidemiology Centers up to 12 months of complimentary access to Experian to assist in collecting personal identifiers for contact tracing or to complete an incomplete case report form during the COVID-19 pandemic. Experian has provided complimentary access to CSTE designated users.

Experian


Experian Health’s Universal Identity Manager (UIM) platform has established a unique Universal Patient Identifier (UPI) for every person in the U.S. population (328 million estimated).  Experian Health built the Universal Identity Manager (UIM) platform by combining the power of Experian’s consumer demographic information with over 40 years of experience matching identities and managing universal identifiers across various industries. The solution searches against the UIM master index, and returns an Experian Health Universal Patient Identifier (UPI), match score, and the most current, accurate patient demographic information — including  the patient’s first name, last name, date of birth, address (full), phone number and ethnicity. The solution finds matches that traditional master indexes can’t, preventing duplicates and supporting patient outreach. It can be consumed via batch, lookup tool via UIM portal, or an API.

For questions or to request access from CSTE, please email CSTEcovid-19@cste.org or Sunbal Virk at svirk@cste.org.

Workforce Development for Contact Tracing

Workforce Development for Contact Tracing

CSTE has compiled resources for workforce development activities to support contact tracing and case investigation. Available resources support  recruiting new workers and upskilling the existing workforce.  Email CSTEcovid-19@cste.org or Jessica Arrazola at Jarrazola@cste.org to share your jurisdiction’s workforce and training resources or to request specific topics.

Contact Tracing Playbook

The Playbook, from Resolve to Save Lives, provides technical guidance, checklists and easy-to-use templates that public health leaders can use to enhance contact tracing protocols and programs. It is aligned with contact tracing guidance released by CDC, offering implementation tools to help jurisdictions rapidly implement contact tracing plans. 

 

Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator

Using the Contact Tracing Estimator, state and local public health officials will be able to plug in the number of COVID-19 cases and other data to help them estimate the number of staff they will need in order to effectively trace contacts of all infected people for their location. In addition, the estimator helps public health officials understand the factors, such as the need for social services, that impact the number of contact workers that would be required to slow the spread of infection. The estimates may also help inform emergency health workforce policies, such as the expansion of the public health workforce and the need to fund training of the contact tracing workforce.

 

Contact Tracing Training for Non-Public Health Professionals

A course by Johns Hopkins University where students will learn about the science of SARS-CoV-2 , including the infectious period, the clinical presentation of COVID-19, and the evidence for how SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from person-to-person and why contact tracing can be such an effective public health intervention. Students will learn about how contact tracing is done, including how to build rapport with cases, identify their contacts, and support both cases and their contacts to stop transmission in their communities.

 

Contact Tracing Training for Public Health Professionals

Public health professionals, who might not have experience with contact tracing, can take this course to learn the basics and to be successful in reaching out to community members to save lives. The course can complement existing disease surveillance systems, programs, and trainings your organization is already using to help monitor the public’s health.

 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Trainings

Training related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is available through the TRAIN Learning Network, a national learning network that aggregates training opportunities for public health, healthcare, and preparedness professionals from thousands of training providers. COVID-19 specific topics include: about COVID-19, contact tracing, crisis and emergency risk communication, infection control in long-term care facilities, non-pharmaceutical interventions, and personal protective equipment.

 

Sample Contact Tracing Training Plan

This document contains a sample training plan including training topics that may be helpful for state and local public health jurisdictions to consider when designing their own training plan for COVID-19 contact tracers. Each heading represents the learning objective for that section. Suggested training modalities/formats are provided, as well as information about sample existing trainings and resources.