Frontline healthcare providers don’t always have access to the latest and greatest technology. But when they are trying to fight a global pandemic with pen-and-paper tracking systems, something has to change.
Dimagi is a tech company on a mission: to deliver scalable digital solutions for organizations to amplify their frontline impact. To that end, Dimagi built and maintains CommCare, a no-code, drag-and-drop app builder used to build custom solutions that help frontline healthcare workers collect accurate data and deliver more meaningful services.
In 2020, when the whole world was taken by surprise by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dimagi was ready to leap into action. In March of that year Dimagi released several template solutions to help frontline workers respond to COVID-19. These solutions included facility tracking tools to support medicine and stock tracking in hospitals and clinics, port of entry applications, and — critically — a case investigation and contact tracing application for outbreak response.
Using CommCare, San Francisco, CA, made national news when it was one of the first counties in the United States to identify an answer for COVID contact-tracing.
In the following weeks and months the states of Alaska, New York, New Jersey, and Colorado, as well as the Navajo Nation and the city of Philadelphia, PA, quickly adopted Dimagi’s contact-tracing solutions. In response, Dimagi invested more heavily in its US health division and its outbreak response solution.
Early versions of the technology were intentionally siloed, to keep user data secure at the county level. County teams were given permissions to see data within their agency, but were not allowed to see data from nearby agencies. At the State level, State Epidemiologists and program administrators required up-to-date data across multiple jurisdictions. Data sharing would have to be fast, secure, and easily accessible by healthcare professionals, even those without deep technical expertise.
To streamline data accessibility and report generation, Dimagi reached out to Talend, Snowflake and system integrator Passerelle.
“We reached out to two different companies that had expertise in the Snowflake data warehouse,” explains Dimagi CEO Jonathan Jackson. “We had those two companies compete against each other to prove that they could use our API to get data out of our system, and that they could come up with a solution design that was cost-effective and would work for our clients.”
In Passerelle’s Data Rocket, Dimagi found an end-to-end data architecture with optimized connections between Talend’s data integration tools, the Snowflake Data Cloud, and Tableau visual analytics. Talend pulls data from CommCare’s multiple source systems — including local, county, and state health information — and integrates datasets so they are readily available for uniform reporting. Data is encrypted and securely stored in Snowflake’s Data Cloud to HIPAA, HITRUST, SOC 1 and SOC 2 Type II, PCI DSS, and FedRAMP requirements. Snowflake, with Tableau, supports user-based permissions that ensure data can be shared securely to the right people, and is accessible to critical decision-makers.
With Data Rocket, CommCare makes it possible for stakeholders with little technical experience to easily access data and use data to make informed decisions.
CommCare has been rolled out across the country at state, county, and municipal levels, creating brand new technical ecosystems from data collection to published reports. In the future, Dimagi would like to see more states adopt these tools as long-term solutions for public health response across counties, across projects, and across departments.
Says Jackson, “I think the solutions we’ve developed will open up new opportunities for us to engage with clients in ways that we weren’t able to do in the past. We’re looking forward to ongoing collaboration with Talend and Passerelle on their Data Rocket.”