HHS renews TeleTracking contract for collecting COVID-19 patient data
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded a six-month contract to Pittsburgh-based analytics firm TeleTracking to continue collecting and reporting COVID-19 patient information.
TeleTracking will continue working with the government to provide public health officials with COVID-19 data through HHS Protect, according to a press release from the company earlier this week.
"Over a year ago, TeleTracking joined the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic through our partnership with HHS. Our work with federal, state and local governments and hospitals across the country to collect patient data has played a critical role in the nation’s response to this crisis," said Chris Johnson, TeleTracking co-CEO and president, in a statement.
WHY IT MATTERS
HHS Protect has something of a beleaguered history, with the abrupt switch to the system causing consternation, confusion and chaos at health systems around the country.
TeleTracking's contract with the government was also scrutinized by some elected officials and media outlets for potential politicization of how the deal was struck, and what it might mean for patient data.
Since then, though, the process seems to have smoothed out overall. The co-founder of the COVID-19 Tracking Project, created in part in response to a lack of cohesive data reporting, urged President Joe Biden in a January article for The Atlantic to preserve the system.
According to TeleTracking, the data it collects from hospitals provides visibility into response areas such as hospital capacity, hospitalization levels, personal protective equipment supplies, therapeutics usage, vaccinations and staffing, as well as insight into critical capacity and supply issues.
"This information has helped inform the federal government's decisions on where and how to mobilize resources to assist on the front lines of pandemic response," read a statement from the company.
THE LARGER TREND
The challenges the government faced in tracking COVID-19 patient data have been echoed by the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
States and local municipalities have largely been left to string together solutions on their own, resulting in a patchwork – and sometimes inequitable – approach.
Biden has pointed to May 1 as the rollout date for a national vaccine finder website, aimed at making the process a bit more seamless. "No more searching day and night for an appointment for you and your loved ones," said Biden.
ON THE RECORD
"We are proud of what we have accomplished together and look forward to our continued work to confront the pandemic," said Johnson.