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 CSTEcovidfirstname.lastname@example.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:
- SARA Alert Demo from MITRE and Arkansas experience discussion (CSTE Surveillance Practice and Implementation Subcommittee call on 5/1/20)
- Apple | Google COVID-19 Proximity and Exposure Notifications (CSTE-hosted webinar on 5/14/20)
- Microsoft Dynamics for COVID-19 contact tracing and case management – demo from North Dakota (CSTE Electronic Laboratory and Disease Reporting Subcommittee call on 5/20/20)
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.
- Steps for Public Health to Plan for the use of the Apple|Google Exposure Notification Framework: A White Paper provides background information on Apple and Google’s exposure notification framework to support public health in deciding whether to build and deploy a statewide app for users to receive exposure alerts for enhanced COVID-19 contact tracing.
- The Digital Tools for Contact Tracing Tool Assessment Report helps public health authorities understand the landscape of available digital contact tracing tools and aid in decision-support for selecting the appropriate one.
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 and LexisNexis Risk Solutions
CSTE is working to provide designated users representing state, large local, and territorial health agencies as well as Tribal Epidemiology Centers complimentary access to Experian through May 2021 and complimentary access to LexisNexis Risk Solutions through March 2021 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 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.
LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ reliable and adequate contact detection capabilities, backed by our expansive library of public records, are helping state and county health departments trace contacts for a large number of individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 with three key areas of focus in mind.
- Key contact details: For effective contact search of individuals with COVID-19, public health agencies require accurate identity and address information, as well as up-to-date phone numbers and e-mail addresses to assist in their outreach to affected individuals and their community.
- Relatives, associates and neighbors: It is critical to stop the spread of the virus of COVID-19 by determining and contacting infected individuals’ connections – relatives, associates, and neighbors. This action also allows agencies to further educate the population, and enables early intervention for treatment before symptoms arise or worsen.
- Impact analysis: A key analysis around how socioeconomic data impact the effects of COVID-19 is critical for continued research purposes and monitoring of the disease over time to identify and prevent future virus outbreaks.
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 CSTEcovidemail@example.com 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.
National COVID-19 Virtual Skills-Based Training Program
CDC is partnering with the National Network of Disease Intervention Training Centers (NNDITC) to offer virtual skills-based trainings for contact tracers and case investigators. State and local health departments are encouraged to offer these trainings to staff that are conducting COVID-19 case investigation or contact tracing activities in their jurisdictions. Registration is now open to all jurisdictions at the following link: https://www.nnditc.org/index.html. All participants must first complete either the ASTHO or Johns Hopkins online knowledge-based course prior to being approved for these courses. If you have questions about registering or need assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
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.