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NTT DATA Partners with City of Austin to Improve COVID-19 Tests; Mark Escott, Chris Merdon Quoted

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NTT DATA and the City of Austin have partnered to release a new digital tool that will allow citizens to electronically schedule COVID-19 tests, the company announced on Friday.

“The launch of the Public Testing Enrollment Form is a pivotal point in the testing capability for our community,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority. “As we gather more data through widespread testing, we are provided a bigger picture in the impact of COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County.”

The joint application will also enable the city to securely trace anonymized positive results to assess testing demand and identify high-risk areas for proactive response. Citizens will be able to access and use the Public Testing Enrollment Form, effective immediately.

Based on responses to common symptoms of COVID-19, citizens may be eligible to electronically schedule a test within a 15-minute window at one of five city-wide locations. Once a test is scheduled, citizens will securely receive a one-time-use QR code on the application’s portal to facilitate quick identification and check-in at the testing sites and securely obtain test results.

If a citizen who uses the application tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive an automated email message directing them to the portal that contains instructions on how to mitigate additional community spread of the virus, as well as guidance on how to monitor symptoms to determine if additional medical supervision is necessary.

NTT DATA and Austin will utilize the anonymized data to develop a COVID-19 heat map, which will indicate areas having a greater need of resources, such as tests and hospital beds. In addition, Austin will provide an automatic exposure questionnaire on the portal for citizens who test positive.

The partnership will gather details on how the virus might have spread, including travel and visits to high-traffic areas. The application will also be able to send follow-up emails or text messages asking citizens to check the portal and report on their well-being so medical care can be escalated if necessary.

“This digital tool will give the City of Austin a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting citizens. They can then proactively allocate health resources to harder hit areas,” said Chris Merdon, SVP, Public Sector, NTT DATA Services, a global IT services provider with its U.S. headquarters located in Texas.

The portal will also include information on COVID-19 and automated chatbots to help answer questions, as well as a community chat feature that allows citizens to connect to each other electronically.

The application portal will be hosted on a FedRamp-secured platform engineered by the city. NTT DATA and its partners will maintain compliance with applicable privacy laws, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

“NTT DATA is well-positioned to help any government entity leverage the latest technology to fight this pandemic, and we expect to roll out what we developed and implemented with the City of Austin to other communities to help combat this horrible virus,” Merdon added.

About NTT DATA

NTT DATA partners with clients to navigate and simplify the modern complexities of business and technology, delivering the insights, solutions and outcomes that matter most. We deliver tangible business results by combining deep industry expertise with applied innovations in digital, cloud and automation across a comprehensive portfolio of consulting, application, infrastructure and business process services.

NTT DATA Services, headquartered in Plano, Texas, is a division of NTT DATA Corporation, a top 10 global business and IT services provider with 120,000+ professionals in more than 50 countries, and NTT, a partner to more than 85 percent of the Fortune 100.