Case Study
The better the question The better the answer The better the world works
Case Study

COVID-19: Four solutions helping governments, healthcare and citizens

EY, SAP and Qualtrics scrambled fast to provide global support in the tracking, management and treatment of COVID-19.

Related topics Alliances Consulting COVID-19
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The better the question

How do we rebuild a better working world?

As countries face multiple challenges, EY felt we had a role to play in tackling the crisis.

Governments and healthcare providers around the world have faced difficulties in tracking and reporting on the progression of COVID-19. They have also encountered problems providing accurate information on transmission and cure, capturing and monitoring community concerns, and directing people to the right resources for help.

EY became aware countries were facing multiple challenges, including:

  1. Early identification of outbreaks
  2. Rapid expansion of patients
  3. High risk of nonocomial infections
  4. Unpredictability over the numbers of people impacted
  5. Lack of backup resources

Governments and health organizations around the globe are faced with an influx of critically ill people into the already strained hospital systems.

And perhaps most significantly of all, trying to gauge and understand public sentiment has been difficult. How do you reassure and respond to your citizens without knowing what their concerns and worries are?

We felt we had a role to play in helping governments and healthcare providers tackle the crisis.

Doctor working on computer in hospital
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The better the answer

Four modules to enable faster reactions

Helping countries to get two-way information achieved a deeper level of detail.

We collaborated with our alliance partners at SAP and Qualtrics to deploy Qualtrics XM solutions and design an additional online assessment. EY uses Qualtrics for its annual global staff surveys, so this solution was an obvious go-to when working out how countries could collect data and report on the current state of the pandemic.

Based on our experience of working with healthcare clients, we also developed new survey questions specifically relevant to COVID-19, with different nuances per country. We also deployed ways of working that were freely available from the UK National Health Service, to provide leading-class underpinnings.

The first phase of our response was to help countries gauge how citizens were feeling and coping during the pandemic. We began working with an initial country on mass citizen outreach, building a tailored pre-screening survey that was embedded on the Government’s COVID-19 website portal and released through a social media campaign. We then built a smartphone app in seven languages. This helped the country’s Government connect with its citizens and understand what was on their minds.

We have since worked with more than 80 countries. It became clear that most were reporting on infections and deaths from the disease using heat maps. But this only tells one dimension of the story – we wanted to help countries reach out to the public to get two-way information and see a much deeper level of detail, so we worked with Qualtrics to implement four different modules:

1. COVID-19 Critical Care Protocol Solution

This is directed at early identification for high-risk patients. It utilizes guidelines from the World Health Organization and the Edmonton Frailty Scale and is powered by a critical care protocol algorithm. The solution assists in early flagging of high-risk patients by sharing and analyzing results in real time, allowing for more targeted allocation of critical care services that are already in short supply.

2. Qualtrics COVID-19 Initial Pre-Screening and Routing

This solution uses guided, automated FAQs to help people triage their needs before calling into public health departments. It can also be used by any health or government organization to provide accurate information at scale, while automatically creating reports to identify trends, patterns and gaps in information requests.

3. Qualtrics COVID-19 Dynamic Call Center Script

Local governments are setting up call centers (often for the first time) to respond to the crisis. To reduce call volume, and provide accurate, up-to-date information to callers, this solution directs citizens to the right resources based on their interests and questions. It also includes automatic reporting showing caller trends, patterns, and gaps in information requests.

4. Qualtrics COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce Pulse

Hospitals and health systems are struggling to keep up with demand. The frontline workforce is on 24/7 and feeling the strain. One national health provider we worked with initially asked us to help them understand and monitor the needs of its corporate organization employees and contractors, and then widened this to over 2 million of its clinical staff. The COVID-19 Healthcare Workforce Pulse solution helps healthcare administrators and leaders to rapidly understand, prioritize, and respond to immediate needs across their teams, when they need it most.

When a day feels like a week, speed of response is essential

These packaged solutions are available to more than 90 countries worldwide and are designed to help them react faster by gathering information from their citizens. For example:

  • Identify individuals who may already be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and direct them to the right local resources to get the appropriate care
  • Keep a finger on the pulse of community concerns by understanding and spotting trends in the data and determining if the information being provided is meeting the needs of the public
  • Collect unified data for aggregation and analysis
  • Assess healthcare resource needs and evaluate safety risks
  • Monitor resilience and burnout of first responders
This pandemic has required true leadership to draft and execute on the road map for re-opening the economy, and EY is at the helm.
Tom Velema
EY EMEIA Alliances Leader

Perhaps the most important factor in our response is speed. Large tech firms have pledged to deliver solutions to help track the spread of the virus, but EY’s alliance-partnered solutions were available almost immediately. For example, Qualtrics data centers that host the solutions are already in the cloud, and with no human intervention needed, the solutions can be deployed in days.

Eric Stine, Qualtrics’ Chief Revenue Officer shared, "Organizations and governments need to take swift, decisive action right now. In order to do so, they need the right resources to stay connected to their citizens, and make sure their needs are being met. We're proud to partner with EY and SAP to be a part of that feedback process."

Tom Velema, EY EMEIA Alliances Leader commented, “In this timeframe, a day feels like a week. One month out is useless in this crisis. This pandemic has required true leadership and relentless commitment and energy from leaders and teams involved to draft and execute on the road map for re-opening the economy, and EY is at the helm.”

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The better the world works

New functionality to aid long-term recovery

Testing, tracking and tracing of the disease will be a particular focus going forward.

The next wave will focus on long-term recovery, putting in place tools and solutions to help governments sustain their response. We are now combining new functionality to add value to the solutions, particularly around the testing, tracking and tracing of the disease – testing people for COVID-19, tracking the spread of the virus, then tracing any people an infected person has come into contact with.

EY is already discussing these next steps with many large organizations including NGOs, banks and even military organizations. Next, our solutions could be deployed to areas such as the supply chain of medicines and medical equipment, and offering greater support to citizens.  

We are now exploring deeper levels of granularity and longer-term analytics to make the information collected more action-oriented, whether that’s routing people to the right resources, arranging treatment, or arranging delivery of food or medicine. We are also helping more call centers to manage and route high volumes of calls.

The top issue for many companies is, how do I protect my people and ensure they stay safe and sane?
Hanne Jesca Bax
EY EMEIA Markets & Accounts Leader

We are also working with SAP to broaden the application of our solutions for businesses.

“The top issue for many companies, both in the public and private sector, is how do I protect my people and ensure they stay safe and sane? The bigger the universe, the more you need a digital solution to be able to have two-way communication about this,” says Hanne Jesca Bax, EY Global SAP leader and EY EMEIA Markets & Accounts Leader.

COVID-19 took the world by surprise, but fast, informed reactions have helped to limit its harmful impacts. The fight against the virus is far from over. But organizations, institutions and businesses now have the opportunity to develop foresight in how they deal with the longer-term implications of COVID-19. And one thing is clear: in an era of social distancing, coming closer together – alliances, citizens, employees – is a strategic advantage.

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