Regional Technology Work Group Meeting Notes – November 2017

  1. Welcome/Introductions
    • Sign-in Sheet
    • Introductions
      • Ian Feldman (COH)
      • Shelli Carter (COH)
      • Alison Belcher (COH)
      • Janette Walker (COH)
      • David Olinger (FBC)
      • Tina Rose (COH)
      • Jonathan Wiggins (COH)
      • Lach Mullen (FB)
      • Laura Norman (GC)
      • Steve Rosa (BC)
      • Bill Ray (BC)
      • Kevin Tipton (GC)
      • Randy Valcin (GC)
      • Kevin Crump (Cha. C)
  2. Meet Our Technology
    • i-INFO Discussion
      • i-INFO will be going away. Executive Committee was presented with several options (continue with ending the contract, pay the ten-license cost for the next year to give the users a little more time, or a third option that Cynthia doesn’t remember). The ten-license cost option is dependent on the vendor being willing to negotiate on the price.
      • Olinger asks about why there isn’t another project to do this? Belcher says that it would be a FY18 project, with the start date in Oct 2018 at the earliest. That may worjk with the ten-license plan, but today’s discussion is just in case it goes away at the end of the year.
      • Feldman: The primary use has been with the SNS PODs. Olinger: Yes, appointment scheduling and email. GCHD has been using more on a daily basis. Rosa: BCOEM hasn’t used it, but BC Health wanted to use the screening tool. Ray: It is written into the plan as the online screening tool for the first responders. Valcin: Using it for mass communication and the badging section also. Mullen: Who is receiving those badges? Valcin: MRC staff. Mullen: Are you using the communication stuff as a stand-alone for the general population, or are you trying to integrate it with the SNS tool? Valcin: Stand-alone now, but want to use it with SNS in the future too. Rosa: Email is free and calls are paid, right? Valcin: Paying for calls. Giving them a lump sum, pay that until it is out. 9-18 cents/text. Phone calls 25-28 cents/minute. Mostly phone bank drills and internal staff notifications. Heaviest use has been Galveston EMS to all their staff using the interactive voice prompts.
      • Olinger: So everyone has full awareness of what it does on the SNS side, yes it does the online screening to get their voucher for what medication they are screened for, but it also saves all that data so they can go and see who got screened, compare to who showed up, and easily get reports of who got what. Can also do templates for POD sites to estimate traffic. If one of those sites is closing, they can use the mass-communication tool to notify people who wanted to go to a site and let them know to go to somewhere else. Appointment scheduling can help load balance to spread out everyone over the day, give people some idea of when to show to not see too long of lines. Belcher: What are the other health departments doing to do these things? Mac with Harris County has two or three systems to do this, which isn’t integrated, but still has something. Carter: COH was using SendWordNow to notify. Rose: Everyone else is doing med screening with paper forms. Jamieson: DispenseAssist. Olinger: Only does the screening, not everything else. Belcher: If i-INFO goes away, can you use DispenseAssist and separate tools for the other stuff? Olinger: Would rather look into buying i-INFO licenses on our own.
      • Ian demos the site. Explains why it doesn’t have data saving.
      • Rosa: David, what percentage of your people will be compliant and do this before arriving at a POD? Olinger: If there was a huge media push and public awareness, everyone will do it on their phone. Maybe 40% doing it at home and printing. Rosa: Lanny estimated much less than that in Brazoria. Rose: Can they show it on their phone if they can’t print? Olinger: We also don’t have the people or equipment to scan QR codes in the numbers necessary in this scenario.
      • Belcher: David, is there any info in i-INFO that would need to come out? Olinger: All our POD sites to get a rapid deployment. Valcin: We also have all our contact lists in there. Also a couple hundred dollars for messages. Jamieson: All the info saved in there will come out as a spreadsheet. Not sure about the money.
      • Yolo County, CA also had an online screening tool, but Olinger wasn’t able to find it before the meeting, not sure if it’s still there.
      • Feldman: On the notification front, three options. One is MailChimp
        • Carter: Free option for 2000 subscribers, can segment lists, but MUST have an email address. May also be a SurveyMonkey integration that she hasn’t tried.
        • Feldman: Option two is using your jurisdiction’s emergency notifications service. Olinger: We could exercise TXPHIN with the state. Carter: We are in the implementation phase with Everbridge. Rosa: We haven’t found something that is cost effective. We are leveraging IPAWS. Also is better for cell phones and visitors. Feldman: Is GC still using Blackboard? Norman: Yes. Tipton: We got off of Blackboard over a year ago, moved to i-INFO. We could move back only if there was money, which there isn’t. Rosa: Blackbaord charges per endpoint.
        • Feldman: Lach, can you talk about the mass notification options in Jetty? Mullen: Jetty is not a mass-notification tool. Have done emails, never tried calls or SMS. For each Jetty license, can do up to 200k SMS per year, built into the cost. Provided that it works and everything functions properly. But it wasn’t built for that, haven’t tested/vetted it. No one was using PIER that way. But a Jetty form wouldn’t work for the medication screening. Not looking to add that feature any time in the near future, if ever.
      • Feldman: On the ID front, check with Chris Collier at SETRAC about the First Responder ID project. Developed by STRAC, used in healthcare facilities there.
        • Belcher: Still in its infancy. Feldman: Yes, but if SETRAC gets money to do a pilot, GCHD may want to approach SETRAC and volunteer to pilot it. Would fit the needs of an MRC nicely.
        • Rose: What about TDVR? Ray: TDVR is just a registry and credentialing at the moment. Badging not really built out. No messaging
      • Mullen: If it goes away on 31 Dec, does FB Health have the money to buy its own license? Olinger: We have negotiated with them to $1800-$1900/license in Fort Bend (for about ten licenses, which would cover FBC, GC, and BC), which isn’t unreasonable. But each agency would have to go out on their own, find the money, and pay for it at the unit cost (least cost effective). Belcher: Galveston, could you afford that? Valcin: Yes, we could. Rosa: I can’t answer for BC Health. That would be a Lanny question. Ray: But they’re using it only for closed pods for first responders, not for the public. Jamieson: Has Joe been in contact with Lanny? Rosa: Yes. Belcher: To clarify, this is just the five UASI counties, but Chambers can ask under SHSP, which is opening soon. Crump: Gotcha. Rose: Can we propose a regional SHSP project? Belcher: Still have a gap between 31 Dec and the start of the SHSP money. Can’t home budget in the middle due to supplanting. Mullen: Also have to watch out for the ACS cost structure. Moving money from our grant-funded projects to other clients, the cost-sharing credits. Olinger: But that’s only for enhancements. Belcher: Also on the UASI contract. Jamieson: This has been done on the UASI contract for multiple years, and we’ve had to forcibly opt out for each year.
      • Valcin: We have a few hundred active MRC volunteers. Most effective way to reach them was the free SMS in i-INFO. Just had to record their cell provider. Feldman: Likely email to SMS. Mullen: i-INFO has the ability to send real SMS, but that costs money. Ray: We use a free texting service called Remind. Mullen: The email to SMS is the first thing cell providers shut down when it gets busy, and there is a risk it all gets blocked for fear of SPAM.
      • Jamieson: Is anyone using Jetty forms for CERT? Mullen: Yes. Ed Norman. He has the ability to register for classes, adds them to class groups, etc.
  3. Status Reports
    • Jetty (Mullen): COH working on sites finally. Carter: I have a hard copy of the contract. Mullen: Jetty wants to have it up by the end of the year, but unlikely. Carter: Want CERT up by then, but if Jetty can’t do custom contact fields, not worth it. Will just use as a public site. Mullen: Makes sense. Putting together a renewal quote. Original quote was based on 40 licenses. Have to do a new contract for the 25 licenses that we are actually using. Working on getting that pricing. But wants an AAR from the site failure during Harvey first. Geofff from Jetty coming next week to talk with Lach, Lach will condense into a one-pager for distribution to Tech or others who are interested.
    • i-INFO (Jamieson): See above. If you don’t have a solution and/or need information, please let Cynthia know. Or you can go directly to Joe if you want to. Olinger: When will we hear back from Exec? Belcher: On or before their next meeting on 11 Dec.
    • WebEOC (Walker): Working on event board. Bringing it up to date (10 years old). Had a meeting this morning. Feldman: I thought we already had mapper. Walker: We have Mapper Lite. We had Mapper Pro back when Frankie was here, but we don’t have it any more. Mullen: So TDEM CIS is going to take the STEAR data and put it in a way we can’t get without buying something? Walker: They’re going to fusion to local servers. You could get an account on the state server to view it. Mullen: I would rather wait until Jared is here to talk about it from the GIS front. Belcher: How much? Walker: $43,282 for year one (install cost plus year one cost), then $7607/year. Belcher: Anything that increases sustainment gets scrutinized by executive committee. Why isn’t this going in the FY18 project? Walker: Was just asking if there was money left over. Belcher: If TDEM won’t be ready with STEAR for six months, better to do FY18. Also adding questions to applications to give better transparency. Walker: Was talking with Mel. Purchased EMResource plugin that had dropped off (Fixing hospital boards) using the money that Janette saved by not going to the IMX conference. Mullen: Newbold said they are still using mapper. This plugin lets them link to ArcGIS. Walker: And it’s bi-directional, so data manipulated in ArcGIS moves back to WebEOC.
    • Evac (Farnham): Nothing new. Walker: Radiant is going away, we are sticking with the WebEOC ETN.
    • AlertFM (Jamieson): Nothing
    • GIS (Granberry, viamail): I have no major notes, other than to say I spoke with Jeff Neubold with TDEM CIS, and was told that STEAR is not transitioned fully to them. I am told they have a demo, and I pushed to see it but was denied access.  311 is still updating STEAR out of the goodness of their heart since our contract with them is expired by months.  That’s all I have.  Hopefully we will know something on STEAR by the end of the year. Olinger: Wait, what? Walker: (Explains). Feldman: Jared has asked to have feedback on this and been told no. Also was told that there will be added features for better data QA, but still not sure if they’ll be there. Olinger: Will we still be allowed the choice to scrub or retain data each year? Ray: I was told everything that was there in the UT system will stay.
    • DS (Feldman): Finally got contract through Council for last round of enhancements.
  4. New Business
    • WebEOC: See above. Will try and find time for a call to discuss GIS issues.
    • MTEP: Will send via email.
  5. Old Business
    • None
  6. Technology Proposals
    • The Technology Workgroup reserves time each meeting for interested parties to present a gap that they feel a new regional technology can fill. The Technology Work Group may then choose to investigate solutions that bridge that gap, so that funding recommendations can be made to the Regional Collaboration Committee.
  7. Next Meeting Date/Adjourn
    • Jan 25, 2018, 1:00-3:30 P.M. HEC 2081
    • Next Presentation: Jetty Harvey AAR

Notes from previous meetings can be found at