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In November of 2020, the city of Chicago reported a seven-day rolling average of 2,500 new cases of COVID-19 contraction amongst its residents. The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) IT team knew they had to find a faster, more efficient way to deliver a digital solution that could facilitate a comprehensive, city-wide pandemic response. This response had to meet the needs of residents while supporting the rapid collaboration of Chicago’s COVID-19 public health ecosystem. 

MTX Group (MTX) teamed up with MuleSoft to orchestrate a plan to take the CDPH’s COVID-19 response and vaccine management to the next level. We created a comprehensive, digital solution that delivers city-wide contact tracing, efficient call center support, and flu and COVID-19 vaccine management for residents across the city of Chicago. 

Since its debut, the results have been monumental. In less than two weeks, the CDPH completed all of the connections necessary for their vaccination approach and effectively supported up to a staggering 2.7 million residents throughout the process.

Here’s how MTX leveraged MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform to develop this innovative application network:

A need for speed

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, an essential component to an effective citywide response is speed. Raed Mansour, the Director of the Office of Innovation for CDPH, noted that they “needed to build upon the data [we] collected instead of ‘recreating the wheel’ if we are going to have a successful COVID-19 vaccination program.” 

The solution towards achieving these goals translates into three key focus points: responsive, reliable, and real-time. 

  • Responsive: Accessibility is essential for the success of the plan. The easier it is for people to engage in the process, the more likely they will participate. CDPH needed a way to make information and instructions available in multiple languages and then be able to communicate to users via SMS text messaging to ensure rapid communication. 
  • Reliable: If the process for registering and receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is unreliable, it could impact the public’s perception of the vaccine’s efficacy. Mansour notes, “We have to build trust. If the process isn’t trustworthy and if people lose faith in the department, we run the risk of residents not wanting to get vaccinated.”
  • Real-time: The COVID-19 vaccine is a two-shot regime, which means it’s essential for departments like the CDPH to lessen the burden that might otherwise deter residents from returning for their second dose. If the department can ensure residents that they’ll be engaging in a more seamless process (i.e. logging in versus registering and consistent file updates), these people are much more likely to return for round two. 
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Hitting the ground running

Project 1: Citywide disease monitoring

The first step MTX and MuleSoft took towards launching the citywide project was to launch the first application programming interface (API). This includes resident information, population location, department monitoring, and the incorporation of the Chicago C.A.R.E.S Platform (COVID-19 Assessment and Response Electronic System). This interface powers the COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing approach to relaying real-time data of each new positive test, allowing tracers to ensure the most responsive system possible.

Project 2: Call center response

By reusing APIs from the disease monitoring solution, the application allows CDPH to rapidly modernize its call center capabilities to manage the influx of calls regarding COVID-19 testing requests, status updates, and follow-up procedures for those who tested positive and needed resources. 

Project 3: Flu and COVID-19 vaccine management and rollout 

Reusing APIs from the first two use cases helped CDPH facilitate their vaccine management solution in less than two weeks. The department can now provide its city of 2.7 million residents with a comprehensive solution to orchestrate the vaccination process for each resident while ensuring both state reporting requirements and privacy and security laws are met. 

A successful debut

The flu season presented a successful test case for the application. CDPH Project Coordinator David Juen expressed, “The amount of real-time data analysis we can do is just phenomenal. We have dashboards that break down the total number of flu vaccinations by demographics, zip code, day of the week, and more.”

Implementing this solution allows the CDPH to effectively tackle essential elements such as accuracy for medical processes, time sensitivity through real-time data supported by Anypoint Platform, and inventory management to maintain vaccine supply across locations. Data-driven insights are also now available to CDPH so that they may best serve the community, pinpoint vulnerable groups, and spread awareness regarding the availability of vaccination appointments. 

Reflecting upon the success of the cloud-based application network, MTX Director of Integration Koert Zegels, stated “By leveraging API-led connectivity, MTX is laying down the foundation for the City of Chicago’s first application network, which will contribute to improved operational performance, financial sustainability, employee well-being, and positive community impact for a better quality of life. MuleSoft allowed MTX to create a hybrid application architecture that is fully deployed on the cloud. The exchange of information between different application stacks is done seamlessly and in real-time. 

In addition, the team implemented observability across the distributed architecture to enhance the operational aspect of the implementation. MuleSoft has accelerated the delivery of this critical application that will enhance Chicago’s capabilities to serve its citizens better.”

By implementing MTX’s cloud-based application network via Anypoint Platform, CDPH could unlock the best of both worlds through a standard, shared set of assets that include both clinical and non-clinical data. This innovative approach to central IT facilitates faster delivery, improved governance, and security and serves as a pivotal point in the innovation efforts towards a modernized future for healthcare.  

Learn more about what many government entities have accomplished by leveraging MTX and MuleSoft for emergency response management solutions.