CalREDIE Supplement System Will Add Capacity, Enable Easier Analysis

Development of a new system to run alongside the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE) is still in early stages, but a state department offered additional details on how it will assist in the receipt, handling, storage and analysis of COVID-19 data received from local agencies.

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A new contract that could significantly change and improve how the state handles and acts upon data from reported COVID-19 cases is still in its early stages, but a state health department offered additional details on how that system may operate when it arrives.

In an email to Techwire, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) further described the new COVID-19 data reporting solution now under development as the result of a contract the agency initially reported finalizing on Sept. 1. CDPH and the California Department of Technology hired OptumInsight Inc., the health-care tech business of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Optum, to create a system that would collect, track and report COVID-19 cases — with the goal of deploying its first phase next month. CDPH hasn’t worked with this vendor before. Among the takeaways:

• The California Reportable Disease Information Exchange (CalREDIE), the state’s database for reporting on infectious diseases, will stay. Its main software will “remain in place for reporting of other conditions and for some COVID-19 related functions,” CDPH said, adding: “The state is taking a stepwise approach to improving our system to receive and report data on COVID-19. The project focuses on the most time-sensitive changes needed to ensure stability of the COVID-19 reporting system.”

• OptumInsight will provide “a cloud solution for the data quality, management, integration, and warehouse of all COVID-19 related data,” CDPH said, indicating that as the volume of COVID-19 data being reported to the state has risen, officials have realized they need new tools “to consistently receive and manage” that data. To that end, the new solution will increase the capacity of the COVID-19 reporting system so it can accommodate the increased volume. It will add tools to improve the quality and consistency of millions of lab results CDPH receives from hundreds of laboratories. And it will deploy a data repository to manage the large volume of data needed “to support COVID-19 monitoring and reporting” in the state.

• The new solution will reduce labor-intensive processes and reporting delays in several ways, CDPH said, by adding “capability to receive data in a variety of formats from new reporting labs,” increasing capacity to managing an increasing data volume, identifying duplicate data reports, and consolidating and organizing large quantities of data to make analysis and reporting easier.

• Funding for the new solution will come through a grant from the federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases (ELC). According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for the 2019 federal fiscal year ending July 31, California received slightly more than $10.2 million via ELC award. CDPH is the primary agency that will use that funding, a significant portion of which will also go to local health departments, laboratory testing providers, and community-based organizations to support their response to COVID-19. In April, the state received $41.8 million as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, CDPH said, pointing out that this money is available through April 2022. The state received another $499 million as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act supplement in May. This money will be available through November 2022.

Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.