Using Real-Time Insights to Address Pandemic Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic is producing an unprecedented need for rapid short-term and longer-range actions on the part of government agencies, foundations, grantees, service providers, and other stakeholders. Fast, effective, and cost-efficient decisions require insights into a range of critical needs, but part of providing solutions is knowing what the challenges are. Where are food and other supplies scarce? What is the full scope of coronavirus symptoms and the availability of testing? What are the economic impacts people are facing? What is the potential long-term impact of school closures and distance learning on students?
Actionable insights can be derived by combining existing information available from a range of sources with real-time data collected “on the ground.” The latter is necessary to fill gaps and can be acquired by connecting with households, nursing homes, workplaces, military quarters, or any other targeted population of interest. The knowledge generated can provide critical baseline measures on key issues of importance to the community or populations an organization serves, enabling them to develop action plans and policies, target resources, and effect positive change.
Abt COVID-19 Assessment & Tracking Tool (CATT)
Abt Global has developed a web-based assessment tool, built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), that helps organizations collect that essential COVID-19-related data from individuals during and after the pandemic. We’ve used our digital resources, significant questionnaire development expertise, and an internal and growing database of more than 1,250 COVID-19-related questions to identify the right areas to assess and the means to collect data. This combination of resources can help stakeholders develop valid assessment questions quickly and in many cases with external reference points for comparison.
WHY A WEB-BASED TOOL?
A web-based approach provides a viable and effective means for obtaining critical COVID-19-related information as a vast majority (90%) of Americans now have access to the Internet. From a household as well as study perspective, such an approach accommodates:
- Multiple Languages
- Accuracy and Quality
- Rapid Analysis
Understanding the Issues and Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing we have seen in the past 100 years and will certainly lead to a world that will differ in a variety of ways from the pre-pandemic period of just a few months ago. We are already seeing these changes, and they include families and communities upended by lives lost and a host of health issues from coronavirus-related complications. There are also short and long-term effects on mental health and emotional well-being, employment status, economic downturns, threatened housing status, decreased food security, and disruptions to the child care, K-12, and higher education systems.
Why is it important to collect information now, during the pandemic? Because time is of the essence. We need to have an understanding of what is happening on the ground and in real time. How are individuals, households, service providers, program managers, facilities operators, etc., dealing with the range of issues they are facing? What is the extent of their challenges? How do experiences and needs differ across variables such as geography, race and ethnicity, socio-economic status, household size and make-up, family structure, population served, and program type? Baseline measurements such as these are required to understand the impact, measure variations over time, and ultimately develop effective policies and actions, marshal resources, and measure progress to help those in need.