Tracking the spread of wildfires, leveraging data to deliver medical resources, and building an app to notify the public of potential exposure to COVID-19—these were some of the California Department of Technology’s (CDT) accomplishments in a year that demanded quick thinking and quicker results.
CDT highlighted some of those accomplishments in its Information Technology Annual Report, released on Friday, Jan. 15.
Naturally, the most dynamic and demanding challenge was piecing together a COVID-19 response that was sustainable, even as the goalposts constantly shifted.
One tool the CDT built to battle the spread of COVID-19 was CA Notify, an opt-in smartphone app released on Dec. 10 that anonymously sends users automated notifications if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The app was piloted on the UC San Diego and UC San Francisco campuses and has been activated by 25 percent of adults in California since its release.
CDT also helped to streamline medical resource requests at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, building the Public Health Ordering System (PHOS), an application that replaced an inefficient legacy system that used PDFs, emails, and phone calls to deliver vital health resources.
Beyond the state’s COVID-19 response, California was also ravaged by 9,000 wildfires that burned four million acres of land in the summer of 2020. CDT, with the help of the Department of General Services, provided CalFire with a technology solution that can help firefighters predict the path of wildfires.
The report also noted CDT’s helping to automate tools for the Franchise Tax Board, the COVID-19 website built in just four days, and the push to implement AI-enabled tools.