California signs $15.3M deal with OptumInsights for new data-tracking system: 5 details

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The California Department of Public Health and California Department of Technology extended a $15 million contract with OptumInsights to develop its new COVID-19 data-tracking system.

California has faced several challenges in gathering and reporting COVID-19 data with its legacy infectious disease data system. The system experienced a technical glitch in July that affected COVID-19 case counts and positivity rates for weeks and caused San Francisco officials to halt reporting of COVID-19 cases. State officials said they hope to leave those problems behind with the new system.

"We are taking meaningful action to update how we collect, analyze and report COVID-19 data, which is central to our ongoing statewide response and the actions local public health directors take every day to protect the health and well-being of Californians," Sandra Shewry, acting state health department director, stated in a news release.

Five things to know:

1. OptumInsights' system will collect, track and report COVID-19 cases. It will supplement California's current disease registry.

2. The standalone COVID-19 data-reporting system is software that can manage large volumes of data and is designed to improve efficiency in receiving data from laboratories and local health departments. It can also prepare data for analysis.

3. The software will reduce California's current labor-intensive collection processes and is designed to minimize reporting delays so public health experts will have the tools and data needed to prevent COVID-19 transmission and respond to outbreaks quickly.

4. California initiated a competitive bidding process before signing the $15.3 million deal with OptumInsights. The state used funding from the federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases grant to pay for the new system.

5. The six-month contract with OptumInsights is renewable, and the first phase of the new system is expected to go live in October.

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