New national solution ensures efficient contact tracing

In February, the Danish Patient Safety Authority went live with a new contact tracing solution that ensures more efficient workflows and provides a better overview of the COVID-19 situation in Denmark.

Press release19 March 2021

The more than 3,000 people who work with contact tracing on a daily basis in Denmark have recently started using a new tool that streamlines the contact tracing of COVID-19 positives and their close contacts, while also improving data quality. The solution shortens the time taken for COVID-19 positives and their close contacts to be contacted and helps ensure that no one is forgotten in the process.

”The idea behind the solution is that the faster we can get hold of the COVID-19 positives and their close contacts, the faster we can identify the chain of infection and break it. It’s all about fighting the pandemic by managing the situation in Denmark. It works – and that’s what our solution supports,” says Lene Buch, Senior Clinical Advisor, who has managed the development project from Systematic.

The solution consists of two parts: An application that guides the contact tracer through the contact tracing call to the positives and their close contacts, and a number of visual dashboards that offer an aggregated overview of national contact tracing efforts. The goal is to trace all possible positives quickly and efficiently and utilise the resources in the Danish Patient Safety Authority optimally. The solution also provides an overview of the actual COVID-19 situation, enabling the authorities to follow, for example, the number of positives, time to contact, and the most critical sources of infection, so that they can prioritise accordingly.

The system is developed for decision-support and allows the health authorities to monitor and focus their efforts, for example if there are sudden local outbreaks, specific mutations, and international travel.

”The dashboards offer a much quicker overview and increased visibility of the national contact tracing effort. We now know if we are focusing our energy in the right way or if we need to reprioritise our resources. The solution has without a doubt significantly improved our overview and effort,” says Birgitte Drewes, who is COO at the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

The dashboards are also used by the Danish Government on a weekly basis as one of the important data sources that form the basis of the national COVID-19 strategy and effort.

The best solution grows from a close collaboration

The contact tracing solution with visual dashboards goes under the name of Columna Flow Pandemic Control and is developed in close collaboration between the Danish Patient Safety Authority and the supplier, Systematic. The dashboards were already introduced nationally in the fall of 2020 and are used daily by the Danish Patient Safety Authority’s top management, as well as by the Danish Government as a foundation for decisions on the gradual reopening of Denmark.

The growing need for an efficient and accurate handling of the contact tracing efforts were the starting point for developing the newest part of the solution – the contact tracing application – which was added in February 2021. The application has been developed to support the contact tracing registration process and promotes a specific focus on meeting various government targets, such as time to contact and streamlined follow-up.

”The Corona situation constantly evolves, which means that we have had to adjust the contact tracing application to match the needs. It has been a truly dynamic process and it is very exciting to work with something that makes such a huge difference,” says Lene Buch.

Earlier in 2020, Systematic developed a solution for visualising the capacity across  Danish test centres. The contact tracing application is the third solution from Systematic that supports the fight against COVID-19. Columna Flow Pandemic Control is the name of the overall contact tracing solution from Systematic.