Driven by a global pandemic, federal agencies stepped up with new strategies and embraced new technical capabilities to combat the coronavirus and meet their missions.
Like adding lighter fluid to slow-burning embers, the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated public health efforts across the federal government.
Initially, the pandemic halted or delayed several key health and technology initiatives, including the deployment of massive health records systems for troops and veterans, while the government’s singular focus turned to rapid pandemic response. Over the months, however, a displaced federal and contracted workforce—including hundreds of thousands working from their homes—pushed numerous non-COVID-19 efforts back to the forefront.
The Veterans Affairs Department, for example, managed a “flawless” launch of its $10-plus billion health records system, and used new pandemic-driven innovations to automate prescription workflows. Meanwhile, the General Services Administration formulated another Centers of Excellence partnership, this one to assist the National Institutes of Health agencies modernize. And work under the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium shifted from studying the coronavirus to prioritizing research projects that could improve patient outcomes.
In this ebook, Nextgov explores these and other examples of the evolution of public health.