Giving Compass' Take:

• Analytics (how data can turn into insights) can help provide organizations with real-time data about the impacts of COVID-19 on communities and can inform responses. 

• How can donors support analytics-based responses to COVID-19? 

• Read more about data sharing in COVID-19 research. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact worldwide public safety operations, front-line agencies can improve their response, efficiency and worker well-being with a transformative tool: data analytics.

Analytics, or the process of turning raw data into insights, can provide agencies with a real-time view of how the virus is impacting their communities. Those insights can indicate if a community’s COVID-19 curve has flattened, as well as changes in agency demand and resources.

Internal operational data is the basis of an agency’s most illuminating reports. As calls about COVID-19 enter a public safety answering point (PSAP), call-takers can flag those events and enter relevant information into the agency’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. That information can include time of call, address, reported symptoms, responder observations and latest available condition.

Integrating third-party data sets from state, regional, or national health organizations with internal CAD data can help agencies determine trends in positive cases and deaths. Analyzing those trends can help leaders develop plans, from unit coverage and workflows to call-taker workloads.

By establishing a normal baseline, agencies can compare the volume of virus-related calls for service against previous days, weeks, months and years. With a combination of internal and external data, agencies can see the frequency of COVID-19-related calls, confirmed cases within a community and hot spots or areas where cases are growing.

Agencies can then share these reports with pertinent personnel, from decision-makers to first responders. If an agency places more units in an area where COVID-19 cases are increasing, it may reduce response times and help responders mentally prepare for a surge in calls and/or how to prepare for a patient with obvious symptoms.

Read the full article about data analytics by Jack Williams at Smart Cities Dive.