Northam announces expansion of data sharing platform to help combat COVID-19
Gov. Ralph Northam today announced that the Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation, Virginia’s cross-agency, cloud-based, data-sharing and analytics platform, is expanding to help the Commonwealth mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and maintain an adequate supply of resources.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have relied on data and science to better understand this novel virus and guide our decision-making process,” Northam said. “The expansion of the FAACT platform is enhancing the way our state agencies and local health partners work together to protect the health and safety of Virginians, and helping us chart a safe, measured, and successful path forward.”
First launched by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) with support from Qlarion and championed by the Commonwealth’s Chief Data Officer, Carlos Rivero, FAACT was instituted in 2018 and significantly expanded in 2019 to help Virginia communities confront the challenges posed by the opioid epidemic.
In a single platform, FAACT combines data from a variety of state and local organizations to generate actionable insight about the contributing factors to opioid use and the most effective ways for communities to respond. Now, Virginia is using this framework to support its continued response to COVID-19.
“By sharing data from disparate systems, FAACT has assisted criminal justice entities, health and human resources, and social services agencies in making proactive decisions to address the substance use and abuse crisis,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran. “I am grateful that the FAACT team was able to apply this framework to address the health needs that have quickly arisen due to COVID-19.”
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Health, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association have joined the Commonwealth Data Trust and are sharing their data via the FAACT platform.
“This expansion of FAACT unites information from sources across the Commonwealth to provide decision makers with the insight needed to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic,” said Carlos Rivero. “Better yet, we were able to do so quickly and efficiently. Had we not previously had the technical, legal, and governance infrastructure in place through FAACT and the corresponding Commonwealth Data Trust, the expansion that took us just days to complete would have taken months. We were prepared and that preparation allowed us to best support our constituents and communities during a time when it’s needed the most.”
Data included within FAACT is updated frequently, in some cases, as often as every 15 minutes, to provide Virginia’s leaders with near real-time information to make critical response decisions. As a result, the Commonwealth will be able to quickly identify hospitals in need of supplies and pharmaceuticals, hospitals and regions that have surge capacity (i.e. available hospital beds and ventilators or the ability to quickly stand up an overflow hospital), and locations with the largest outbreaks of COVID-19 cases.
“We started this project as a data-sharing collaboration for public safety and behavioral health agencies to address the opioid crisis and save lives,” said DCJS Director Shannon Dion. “We are proud that the FAACT infrastructure is similarly helping Virginia save lives during this health crisis.”
“Data is critical to enabling our clients to make evidenced-based decisions as they respond to any and every crisis—from the opioid epidemic to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jake Bittner, CEO of Qlarion, a data and analytics firm that specializes in government innovation. “Because Virginia had the foresight to create a platform for data sharing like FAACT, the Commonwealth was uniquely prepared to undertake a data-driven response and better protect its citizens during this pandemic.”